6 Tips for Drinking & Boating Safely 

Boating and drinking can be lots of fun, and there’s nothing wrong with wanting to enjoy a little alcoholic drinky-drink out on the water, as long as it’s done responsibly. Yeah, we know we sound like a PSA right now. 

Boating and drinking tips

But we’re not out to do a PSA about drinking and boating, just doing our jobs by providing relevant boating content. With that in mind, boaters should be aware that alcohol consumption laws on the water are just as strict (or stricter) than they are on land. Alcohol consumption is the leading contributing factor of boating accidents and fatalities, so here are some boating and drinking tips to make sure each outing remains fun but safe.

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Boating and Drinking Tip 1: Don’t Drink While Operating a Boat

Operating a boat under the influence of alcohol is as serious an offense as drinking and driving on land. Anyone caught operating a boat with a blood-alcohol level over the legal limit faces a BUI, plus the hefty fines and jail time associated with it. This offense may also include having your boating license revoked and your boat impounded. Simply put, don’t pilot a boat if you’re not ready to be the designated driver. 

Boating and drinking safety tips

Boating and Drinking Tip 2: Don’t Let Passengers Get Too Drunk 

People who think that anything goes once they’re out on the water should think twice, because public intoxication laws still apply. Anyone deemed to be intoxicated by marine police or the USCG can be arrested. Alcohol consumption impairs balance and judgement, which radically increases the likelihood of a passenger having an accident onboard or falling off the boat. In other words, your passengers can drink, but make sure they don’t (pun intended) go overboard!

Boating and drinking responsibly tips

Boating and Drinking Tip 3: Keep Glassware Off the Boat 

Any glass bottles, wine glasses, mugs, etc. on a boat pose a hazard on board and should be kept off a boat. Buy alcoholic beverages in cans instead of bottles for any boating trip. Cans are lighter; won’t shatter if dropped; and can be crushed and safely stowed away once consumed. While drinking from a frosty glass beer mug or fancy wine glass sounds much more enticing than a plastic cup, it’s just not worth the trouble of bringing glassware on board. A koozie will do just fine to keep a beer can cold, and no matter how sophisticated you are, we’re pretty sure you can endure drinking out of a plastic mug or wineglass.

Boating safety beer on a boat

Boating and Drinking Tip 4: Bring Plenty of Drinking Water

Spending hours on a boat drinking in the sun rapidly dehydrates your body, which also enhances the effects of alcohol consumption. Everyone on board (including your dog) should drink plenty of water whether they’re consuming alcohol or not. However, those who are consuming alcohol should double up on drinking h20, as alcohol accelerates dehydration. And no matter how mouth-watering the commercials make it look, a frosty beer will not hydrate you!

Boating and drinking safety tip hydrate

Boating and Drinking Tip 5: Don’t Drink On An Empty Stomach

Along with dehydration, the effects of alcohol are increased on a person who hasn’t eaten enough. Have plenty of food onboard, Captain, and make sure anyone consuming alcohol onboard eats! Make things fun with an onboard cookout by bringing a boat grill along so everyone can enjoy a delicious hot meal with their cold beverages.

Boating and drinking tips cookout

Boating and Drinking Tip 6: Keep It Clean

Pack up any plasticware and cans as soon as they’re no longer being used. A gust of wind can easily drag an empty can, plastic cup or coaster out into the water. Federal law makes it illegal to dispose of any trash from a boat into a body of water or coastline. You’ll probably be breaking local and state litter laws too if you allow trash to get blown overboard. It’s really common sense not to pollute anywhere with trash, but water pollution in particular is definitely something you don’t want to mess with.

Boating and drinking tips littering

We hope you’ll keep these drinking and boating tips in mind anytime you go out on the water with alcohol on board. But most importantly stay safe, have fun and boat responsibly!



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