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When you’re planning on taking to the water in your kayak, you will first need to be aware of the laws that are in force in your particular region.
Most importantly, can you get a DUI or BUI on a kayak?
The last thing you want to do is get caught drunk under the influence when kayaking.
So we have put together some information that will help you better navigate your region and stick to the rules.
Can I Get A DUI On A Kayak?
USA & Canada
The simple answer is yes. It is against the law to operate any vessel when you’ve been drinking alcohol and this applies in all 50 states.
It’s best to check each state’s individual laws regarding alcohol before you set out on your kayak, as some of the penalties can include fines, loss of operational licenses and even jail time.
Canada also has strict laws against kayaking while under the influence of alcohol.
Australia and New Zealand
Kayakers in Australia have to abide by the laws that apply to all water vessels and being drunk while operating any vessel is illegal.
In New Zealand the law recommends that you avoid alcohol while being in charge of a vessel of any kind and you can be prosecuted if you are deemed to be operating your vessel dangerously.
In the UK it is legal to operate a kayak if you’ve been drinking alcohol, as the alcohol legislation only applies to crafts longer than 23 feet. However if you’re found to be impaired by alcohol while in a kayak you could still face prosecution.
Does Drinking Alcohol On A Boat Or Kayak Have More Effect Than On Land?
Drinking alcohol on a boat or kayak can affect you more than if you were on land. This is because there are other factors that can further impair your cognitive awareness.
The sun, wind, waves and motion of being on the water can all affect your levels of awareness and can contribute to fatigue. So when you combine these additional factors with alcohol you can come become intoxicated even quicker than on land.
As we all know, consuming alcohol affects your balance and when you’re in a kayak it can be particularly dangerous, as you require good balance to keep from capsizing.
There are extra dangers to look out for when you’re on the water compared to on land. Because alcohol lowers your body temperature, falling in the water can be even more dangerous, especially in colder weather.
Boaters have been known to suffer from “boater’s hypnosis” so even when sober you are likely to have more impaired senses than if you were on land, meaning adding alcohol to the mix could increase your risk of an accident or injury.
If you are the one operating the kayak or boat it is best to avoid alcohol completely, as you are ten times more likely to be killed in an accident with a blood alcohol level of over 0.10% than if you had no alcohol in your system.
Operating any vessel on the water requires concentration in order to stay safe. However, in a kayak, you can often find yourself on your own, so it’s even more vital to have your wits about you to prevent any accidents or in the event of one occurring.
Because alcohol negatively affects your vision and coordination, you’re also at more risk of causing accidents for both yourself and others, as you may not be fully aware of what is happening in the water around you, particularly with other watercrafts.
While some regions of the world may not have a law against drinking alcohol while paddling your kayak, the best advice is to use your common sense and wait till you’re safely back on land before sipping on your favorite alcoholic beverage.
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