PADDLERsmart! USA Knowledge Base

Module 04 - Safe Boat Operation



It’s illegal to operate any vessel in the U.S. while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Yes, that includes paddle craft.

Boaters who have a Blood Alcohol Concentration level in excess of 0.08% (or 0.10% in some states) are subject to a civil penalty of up to $1,000 and a criminal penalty of up to $5,000. Remember, this fine is applicable to all boaters—from the captain of a yacht to a Stand Up Paddler!

Being on the water and in the sun all day feels great, but it can be dehydrating. Adding alcohol to this scenario increases the level of danger greatly. Alcohol impairs your judgement, coordination, vision, balance and it acts as a stressor. This means that alcohol will increase the effect of other conditions related to being outside (like sun, motion, glare, wind and fatigue) and will seriously impair your competency as a safe paddler. Under these circumstances, just one alcoholic drink will make you feel as though you’ve had three drinks.


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