When stopped on suspicion of drunk driving, it is important to note that
just because your BAL is under the legal limit does not mean you will
not be arrested. In fact, there are circumstances where the officer may
simply believe you have had enough to drink to begin affecting your normal
faculties. However, as mentioned above, there are many factors of being
out on the water that can make it appear as if you are drunk even when
you're not. For example, being in the heat can make you fatigued,
which can mirror the symptoms of being intoxicated. There are also "stressors,"
which can make you more susceptible to alcohol or cause symptoms that
These stressors all come from the marine-type environment, such as the
- Motion of the Boat
- Sound of the Engine
- Heat & Wind
- Spray of the Water
All of these can cause a driver to become fatigued and to begin to display
symptoms that are similar to boating when intoxicated. The USCG warns
that these stressors can also cause a boat operator to lose coordination,
judgment and reaction time faster than someone who was drinking on land.
This is made only worse by the fact that boat operators often do not have
the benefit of a lot of experience.