Don't go overboard with alcohol

two men on a boat 

As we gear up for a busy season of boating, it’s a great time to think about being safe on the water. Integral to boating safety is ensuring the skipper, passengers and crew aren’t affected by alcohol.

Whether you’re going fishing, skiing, diving or just cruising, when you mix alcohol with boating the consequences can be fatal. Coordination, judgement, vision, balance and reaction time declines up to three times faster when consuming alcohol on a boat. Waves, motion, vibration, engine noise, weather, wind and spray all amplify the effects of alcohol.

It isn’t just the skipper who needs to drink moderately: studies have shown that boat passengers are just as likely as skippers to be involved in incidents such as capsizing the vessel or falling overboard as a result of drinking alcohol.

According to the West Australian Marine Act, it is an offence to operate a vessel while affected by alcohol or drugs to such an extent as to be incapable of having proper control of the vessel. Basically, skippers are accountable for any accident or injury if they are affected by alcohol while operating a vessel.

The general guidelines for standard alcohol consumption are:

  • Men: No more than two standard drinks in the first hour and one standard drink every following hour.
  • Women: No more than one standard drink every hour.

Don't forget to check your Boating Equipment Checklist before you go!

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