August 21, 2009, Newsletter Issue #180: Boating Safety and Alcohol

Tip of the Week

One serious cause of accidents both on the road and on the water is due to a syndrome called "inattentional blindness". When a person consumes alcohol, their power to focus attention is diminished.

Inattentional blindness is possible in non-alcohol situations, drinking only aggravates the problem. Inattentional blindness is the cause of collisions, hit and run incidents, and other vehicular and boating accidents. With enough alcohol in the body, a person may not even be aware that they have struck an object, run aground, or even lost a passenger.

The real danger in a boating while intoxicated situation is a combination of the risk of capsizing the vessel, and alcohol impairing the ability to swim to safety. Aquatic accidents are deadly enough without the added complication of intoxication. Boating while intoxicated seriously ups the ante by impairing the basic skills to pilot the boat and to get to safety in the event of a mishap.

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