Drinking and Boating - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 02-28-2013   #1
 
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Tigard, Oregon
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Drinking and Boating

Trips are planned, gear is clean and ready for the season, weather sucks, so it must be time to rattle the hive....Let's talk about drinking on the river. Who has rules for their trips? PFDs are perfect for holding a PBR while I paddle the flat water. Rafts are basically a floating beer cooler.

Lower Deschutes River Management says: Boating and alcohol can be a DEADLY MIX! The effects of alcohol result in the inability to react safely and quickly to dangerous boating situations. Operating a vessel under the influence of alcohol is illegal. This law applies to both floatboats and powerboats.

Boating Safety Resource Center says: BUI is just as deadly as drinking and driving (of course they are talking about powerboats for the most part, but many of the concerns fit whitewater as well)

I personally do not drink on the river, I hold off until my boat is tied up and either in the process of unloading or completely unloaded depending on the shore conditions. I however do not hold everyone on my trip to these standards.

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Old 02-28-2013   #2
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BUI for non motorized boats is pretty silly. Commercial guiding while drunk is a little different, but I think most guides can hold their own with booze and with their boats, so if you can keep it safe I'm not going to judge. I would certainly vote for a skilled and physically able guide with a few drinks in them over an overconfident unskilled guide in poor shape but sober.

Personally if I'm comfortable on a run I have no issue tossing back a few and floating.
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Old 02-28-2013   #3
 
Aurora, Colorado
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Originally Posted by TriBri1 View Post
Operating a vessel under the influence of alcohol is illegal. This law applies to both floatboats and powerboats.
So, who's "operating" a paddle boat? the guy in back? Everyone? What if there are no paddles and you're all "Zen Boating?"
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Old 02-28-2013   #4
 
Bellvue, Colorado
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All thoughts aside, its illegal, but we all do illegal shit! Group by group basis, If a guy can hold his own then so be it. The real question is, do you trust them, because ultimately you might be in a position where your life depends on their ability to react.
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Old 02-28-2013   #5
 
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Tigard, Oregon
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Originally Posted by climbdenali View Post
So, who's "operating" a paddle boat? the guy in back? Everyone? What if there are no paddles and you're all "Zen Boating?"
Funny you should ask, there was a huge crackdown 10 years ago on the Maupin Run of the Deschutes. It was quite the drunk float with three pool and drop IVs. They were handing out BUI and no PFD tickets constantly. I think the rule is something along the line of your hands need to be on a paddle or oar to be considered an operator. So a paddle raft with seven drunk co-eds are all operators...

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Originally Posted by Spaceghost View Post
All thoughts aside, its illegal, but we all do illegal shit! Group by group basis, If a guy can hold his own then so be it. The real question is, do you trust them, because ultimately you might be in a position where your life depends on their ability to react.
Although I based the opening thought on local laws, I don't worry about the legal ramifications as much as I do the personal. I would hate to be the guy that gets accidentally drunk on the river and gets hurt or hurts someone else because I am able to assist in an emergency.
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Old 02-28-2013   #6
 
Newberg, Oregon
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Originally Posted by climbdenali View Post
So, who's "operating" a paddle boat? the guy in back? Everyone? What if there are no paddles and you're all "Zen Boating?"
In Oregon you can get a bui on anything that floats except a private float dock!
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Old 02-28-2013   #7
 
Denver, Colorado
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My wife is a doctor... According to her, alcohol relaxes your airway and minimizes the reflex of the airway to close off when water hits it. It's the natural reflex that helps prevent getting water in the lungs and drowning. I suspect that alcohol contributes to boating fatalities not only by lack of coordination, but also by allowing water into the lungs more easily. I always have beer at the takeout, but won't drink before paddling unless it's really mellow water. Most of my paddling is class IV/V kayaking. On a class II raft trip, I'd crack a beer.
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Old 02-28-2013   #8
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What if all you brought to drink was beer???
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Old 02-28-2013   #9
 
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I used to drink quite a lot while rafting, had the 2-stroke blender, jugs of premixed mai-tais to pass around, etc, but then I also used to drink quite a bit doing pretty much everything else. I also did a lot of Class III's and maybe a III/IV- at the most.

It was probably a worse idea shuttling or driving home than whatever I did on the river.

I don't drink much anymore, so it's really a non-issue. My coolers are too big for daytrips now. It was after a river trip a couple of years ago that I turned into a complete drunken dick to my wife in the restaurant parking lot and that was the wakeup call that it had to stop. I didn't drink for a year, and now only have a few drinks a month.


I never have really drank while kayaking. After a beer or two, my ability to hold my breath goes from 30-60 seconds to as little as 5-10.

I have zero issue with a beer or two on a II-III (like Glenn said--runs I'm super comfortable with), and don't mind if someone on my boat has beer. I can't drink a beer fast enough on the Lochsa before it gets spilled, so I don't bother. Like TriBri1, I don't hold anyone else to my own standards--they are my own. I boat with a lot of very skilled paddlers who smoke a bowl mid-run. They're better boaters than me, and they're adults. Not my place to say a thing. It's a free country.

A cold one at the take-out sure tastes good, though.
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Old 02-28-2013   #10
 
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Originally Posted by LSB View Post
What if all you brought to drink was beer???
If you bought it in Utah, you'd be well-hydrated!
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