Boating is a great pastime to enjoy on one of the many lakes in and surrounding the greater Atlanta area. This is especially true as the heat of summer sets in and the cool breeze of the water beckons. Oftentimes, however, relaxing and boating may also involve drinking — and this can result in more trouble than fun. Though it seems innocuous, there are actually a number of risks involved.

The following three are the most common risks associated with boating while under the influence. Boating is fun in and of itself, so there is no reason to add alcohol to the mix and endanger yourself and others. 

1. You may cause injuries or death

According to the U.S. Coast Guard, alcohol is a factor in approximately one-third of all fatalities that occur on recreational boats. Indeed, this is one of the greatest risks you accept when you operate a boat while drinking. Several other sources suggest that boat operators become impaired more quickly than drivers, so the threat to the lives of anybody surrounding is very real.

2. You could face a BUI charge

You likely already know what a DUI is, but you might not be familiar with a BUI. As you probably guessed, this stands for boating while intoxicated — and it is a criminal charge. Many people are entirely unaware that law enforcement can arrest them for drinking and boating, but they can, and a criminal conviction could completely derail your life.

3. You might get in an accident

Even if law enforcement does not arrest you or you do not cause injuries, you drastically increase the likelihood of an accident occurring when you imbibe while boating. You might cause damage to your own boat, or you may collide with another boat and find yourself liable for extensive damages. In either case, there might be both legal and criminal consequences for the property you harm.