Need a leak? Stay on­board!

The Napier Mail - - YOUR HEALTH - More in­for­ma­tion at mar­iti­ en­ter ‘‘al­co­hol’’ in the search field.

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.

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