How alcohol consumption increases risks of drowning

If you are planning to take your boat out on the water, you might want to think twice about indulging in alcoholic drinks. Not only can intoxication impair your ability to navigate your boat off the shores of Michigan, but it increases the risk of drowning. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, one in five boating deaths results from alcohol and 70 percent of drowning deaths during water recreation activities involve alcohol as a factor.

There are multiple reasons why alcohol boosts your risks of drowning. As the Guardian Interlock website explains, alcohol consumption inhibits your ability to abstain from reckless behavior. When sober, you typically exercise better judgment, but while intoxicated, you would feel confident about taking chances. If you were driving a car, you would become more reckless on the road. You would be no less reckless while operating a boat or swimming in the water.

Alcohol can also make you misjudge your surroundings. Your sense of sight and sound is diminished, which means you cannot judge distances accurately. As a consequence, you may decide to take a swim but cannot discern how far away your boat or the nearest shore is. You could wind up out of range of human assistance if you need it. You could also end up lost and not sure where to find safe harbor.

Alcohol presents an additional problem in cold weather since alcohol can lower your body temperature. If you end up in frigid water, either on purpose or by falling off the deck of your boat, the shock of the cold temperature can result in hypothermia, which will likely exhaust your body and may cause unconsciousness, with drowning almost certain to follow. 

The risks of drinking alcohol present a real danger while on the water, which make limiting consumption of alcoholic beverages a smart move to prevent injury and loss of life. It can also help you avoid the possibility of being charged with a DUI under Michigan law, as people may be charged with being under the influence while operating a boat as well as handling an automobile.

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