Need a leak? Stay onboard!
A surprisingly common cause of boaties unexpectedly ending up in the water is men falling off boats when trying to pee.
Not surprisingly, they have almost always been drinking alcohol.
If you do end up in the water alcohol makes your body lose heat faster and hypothermia more likely.
It reduces your ability to hold your breath, and suppress your airway protection reflexes making it easier for you to inhale water.
No matter the activity, alcohol affects balance, vision, coordination and judgement.
In boating,factors like wind, sun, noise, motion and vibration can magnify the effects of alcohol – you make mistakes faster but, incorrectly, think you are fully in control.
Safer boating and alcohol do not mix.
Things can change quickly on the water.
All on board need to stay alert and aware for your own safety and that of others.
A momentary lapse that might pass unnoticed on shore can have dangerous consequences out on the water.
‘‘Operating a boat is at least as complicated as driving a car, and a boating accident can be just as lethal as a road accident,’’ Maritime NZ Director, Keith Manch says.
‘‘Many people who would never drive drunk think it’s safe to operate their boat after drinking. ‘‘It isn’t.’’
As a skipper, you’re responsible for the safety and wellbeing of everyone on board your boat.
A responsible skipper will never operate under the influence of alcohol or allow an intoxicated person to operate their boat.
Incidents in New Zealand involving alcohol and boats include:
A passenger on a jet ski being killed when they fell off and were hit by a following jet ski
Two brothers fishing and drinking and then jumping into the water when their boat ran out of fuel – one drowned
A man drowning after falling off a dinghy when pulling in a fishing net – his blood alcohol level was twice the legal driving limit for cars.