Is there no place we’re safe from the problems of safe navigation and alcohol? Why can’t we just happily float on while sipping on our favorite alcohol-infused treats? Rafting while Intoxicated, or RUI, is an actual criminal charge in Alaska, so what does that mean for the rest of us who like to relax down a lazy river with our trusty innertube cooler at our side?
Well, in Alaska we could go to jail.
Other states, too, put rafting under their BUI (Boating Under the Influence) rules. Oregon prohibits it. Michigan makes no distinction between powered and unpowered water craft. We have to admit that a leisurely float probably isn’t too dangerous to anyone in the path of the raft. Enjoying a cold beer or two with friends while heading down the river doesn’t seem too much of a threat. However, water can be a tricky environment, and sometimes fast decisions have to be made – the kind of decisions that alcohol makes difficult. A lot of recreational rafting is done in water that requires agility and attention. Ask a rafting guide about alcohol and if it makes their job any easier.
Here are some guidelines for a safe RUI or FUI (floating under the influence) experience:
- Don’t overdo the alcohol in general. Alcohol poisoning isn’t fun, and dehydration will really put a cramp in your float-tastic style.
- Don’t leave a mess. Nobody likes a litter-filled lazy river.
- Be courteous to the other floaters. If you collide, apologize and offer them a friendly wave. You never know who you may meet, or if they’ll be the person to help you out of your inner tube at the end of the day.
RUI and FUI aren’t on their way to being stamped out, as we hope DUI is. But it’s important to be able to respond to unexpected situations. It’s safe to say that alcohol and water don’t mix.