When people consider boating while intoxicated, they may not associate this offense with New Mexico. However, the state does have laws against BUIs and if people want to keep themselves out of trouble, it is important for them to know what this offense consists of and why it is dangerous.
Boating while intoxicated is more dangerous than people may realize. FindLaw says it is 34% more likely that people will die in a boating accident if the driver has been drinking. Additionally, alcohol plays a role in more than half of the boating accidents that occur each year. For this reason, some authorities may set up checkpoints so they can determine if boat operators have been drinking. Members of law enforcement may also ask boaters to pull over if they think the driver is drunk.
Some people may not immediately see the dangers of drinking while operating a boat. According to the U.S. Coast Guard's Boating Safety Division, BUI is hazardous because many boat operators do not have as much experience boating as driving. While drivers have to spend many hours behind the wheel before they can get their license, many people drive a boat for 110 hours each year. This means that many boaters may not have the same amount of confidence in their boating skills as their driving abilities. Additionally, many factors affect a boater's faculties when he or she is on the water. The sun, the motion of the boat and the vibrations from the engine may make a person feel fatigued. When boaters add alcohol to this mix, they may become impaired even faster.
Additionally, alcohol can affect a person's vision and coordination. Boat drivers may not always judge distance correctly if they are drinking and this can cause them to hit an obstacle in the water. Drunk boaters might also be more likely to lose their balance, and this may result in a man overboard situation. If an intoxicated boater falls overboard, he or she may quickly become disoriented in the water. For these reasons, it is important for people to make sure they stay sober while they are out on the water.