EDITORIAL: Alcohol, water can be deadly combination

2013-08-25T00:00:00Z EDITORIAL: Alcohol, water can be deadly combination nwitimes.com
August 25, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Alcohol and water don't mix well, at least when the water isn't in a glass. Yet drunken boating continues to be a problem.

The Indiana Natural Resources Commission lists boating while intoxicated as one of the top 10 most commonly violated boating offenses on Lake Michigan.

Boating under the influence adds the possibility of drowning to the many dangers created by operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol.

Boating while intoxicated violates both state and federal laws. 

Whether a vehicle is on dry land or in the water, the standard for impairment is the same.

"If you plan to consume alcohol, plan ahead and have a sober operator return you home safely," U.S. Coast Guard Cmdr. David Beck told The Associated Press. It's good advice.

Alcohol on the high seas is an ancient tradition, with sailors served rations of grog in ancient times. But remember why those sailors were served alcohol. Among the reasons was that clean, fresh water was so scarce that alcohol was considered a safer beverage. Times have changed in that regard.

Sailing was once considered a dangerous occupation, too. Making it safer includes cracking down on excessive alcohol consumption by those operating the vessel.

Because drunken boating is a major problem, the U.S. Coast Guard looks for signs of intoxicated pilots during routine inspections and keeps a watch for vessels operating erratically.

The Indiana Department of Natural Resources and Indiana State Police have also tried to make Hoosiers aware that boating under the influence is treated the same as driving under the influence.

It's a sobering message, one that needs to be heard.  

The U.S. Coast Guard and others are right to crack down on drunken boaters. Lives depend on their efforts.

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