Drinking Alcohol While Kayaking: The Do’s and Don’ts

This article is all about kayaking and drinking. We’re going to talk about how to enjoy both activities safely.

You’ll first need to understand that there are different rules for drinking when you’re kayaking. Alcohol is allowed in some locations but not in others.

We’ll also discuss how to carry your drink safely. And we’ll talk about what happens when you drink while on a kayak.

Key Takeaways

  • It is technically legal to drink alcohol while kayaking in most states, but it is not recommended.
  • Alcohol impairs your judgment and coordination, essential for safely operating a kayak.
  • Even if you’re an experienced kayaker, alcohol can make navigating and responding to potential hazards more challenging.
  • If you decide to consume alcohol while kayaking, go with a friend and bring extra food and water in case you become stuck.
  • Above everything, be safe and exercise common sense.
Drinking Alcohol While Kayaking_ The Do's and Don'ts
Drinking Alcohol While Kayaking_ The Do’s and Don’ts

Here’s The Answer To Can You Drink Alcohol While Kayaking

In the U.S., all 50 states have laws prohibiting boating under the influence (BUI) of alcohol. The legal blood alcohol content (BAC) for boaters is.08%, which is also the limit for drivers of motor vehicles.

A BAC of.08% carries serious penalties, including jail time, loss of boating rights, and substantial fines. 

  • In Canada, the penalties for boating under the influence are similar to those in the United States. Boaters caught with a BAC above .08% can expect to pay heavy fines and may even spend time in jail. 
  • The legal blood alcohol content (BAC) limit for boat operators is typically.05% in Australia, New Zealand, and the UK compared to.08% in North America. The penalties for exceeding this limit are also less severe than in the U.S. and Canada, but they can still include hefty fines and loss of boating privileges. 

Anchoring your kayak or canoe before you start drinking is one way to minimize the risk of violating BUI laws. But even if you’re not caught by law enforcement, drinking alcohol while kayaking or canoeing is still risky.

Alcohol impairs judgment and coordination, which increases the risk of injury or drowning. Paddlers who consume alcohol are more likely to capsize their boats and fall into cold water, leading to hypothermia—a potentially deadly condition. 

So, how do you enjoy a day on the water the most? Paddle sober and leave the alcohol at home.

It Is Possible To Drink Alcohol While Kayaking, But It Is Not Advisable

It Is Possible To Drink Alcohol While Kayaking, But It Is Not Advisable
It Is Possible To Drink Alcohol While Kayaking, But It Is Not Advisable

Alcohol is common at many outdoor recreation events, and kayaking is no exception. Spending time outdoors and socialising with loved ones is enjoyable.

But before you raise your glass in celebration, there are some things you should know about drinking alcohol while kayaking.

Your coordination and balance may be affected by alcohol, making it more challenging to paddle and maneuver a kayak through rough waters or choppy waves.

It can also cause dehydration—a serious problem if you’re stuck in an emergency where help might not arrive on time.

In addition to its effects on physical fitness, alcohol has several other potential consequences that could make your next paddle trip less than enjoyable.

Alcohol Can Impair Your Balance And Coordination

Your balance and coordination may be affected by alcohol, making it more difficult to paddle and maneuver your kayak. If drunk, you are more likely to fall out of your kayak.

If you have had a few drinks before heading out on the water, take it easy and pace yourself. Avoid drinking more than one or two beers when in the water.

Alcohol Can Make It More Difficult To Swim If Capsized

Alcohol in your system will make swimming more challenging if you capsize or fall out of your kayak.

Hypothermia is also a real concern if you’re in the water for an extended period. Hypothermia can be fatal if not treated immediately, so try to get back into your kayak as quickly as possible after losing control and falling out.

Alcohol Will Only Add To Your Fatigue

Alcohol Will Only Add To Your Fatigue
Alcohol Will Only Add To Your Fatigue

Alcohol is a depressive that makes your body and mind less responsive. This can make paddling and navigating a kayak, which is already demanding, more challenging.

Alcohol can also impair your awareness of your surroundings, including nearby wildlife and other boaters on the water, which increases your risk of serious accidents and injuries.

While being out on the water might not seem like the most dangerous activity to engage in while drinking, many things can go wrong if you’re under the influence of alcohol or drugs (legal or illegal).

You should know what effects these substances have on your body before engaging in any activity where safety is essential (i.e., kayaking).

Drinking Alcohol While Kayaking In Hot Weather Can Increase Your Risk Of Dehydration

Diuretics like alcohol cause you to urinate more frequently than usual. This can lead to an increased risk of dehydration because it reduces your body’s ability to retain water.

If you choose to drink alcohol while kayaking, ensure you’re consuming enough water simultaneously so you don’t become dehydrated.

Dehydration can cause heat exhaustion and other serious conditions, so it’s best to avoid this combination whenever possible.

Other Side Effects Of Drinking Alcohol While Kayaking In Hot Weather: Drinking can also lead to nausea, vomiting, and stomach pain and make you susceptible to sunburn if the weather is hot.

Always Best To Err On The Side Of Caution And Avoid Drinking

When drinking alcohol while kayaking, it is always best to err on the side of caution. While there are not many health benefits to drinking alcohol, it can also be dangerous to drink when you’re kayaking.

You need to function at a high level for your safety and the safety of others around you. If you choose to drink while on the water, make sure that someone knows where and how much alcohol has been consumed.

This will help them check for signs of intoxication or other hazards from drinking too much before going on a trip.

Is It Illegal to Drink Alcohol While Kayaking?

Is It Illegal to Drink Alcohol While Kayaking
Is It Illegal to Drink Alcohol While Kayaking

Most people would probably assume it is illegal to drink alcohol while kayaking, but they would be wrong. No federal laws in the United States prohibit kayakers from drinking alcohol on the water.

  • Kayaking can be a dangerous activity even when everyone is sober and following all of the safety rules. Alcohol can impair your judgment, coordination, and balance, leading to poor decisions or unnecessary risks while on the water. This could result in you capsizing your kayak or getting injured. 
  • Before embarking on a drinking kayaking expedition, it is important to confirm the rules in your area because many states have laws governing alcohol and boats.
  • Some states prohibit boating under the influence of alcohol, while others allow it. If your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is below a certain level. 

So, if you’re looking for a fun way to spend a summer day, you can go ahead and crack open a cold one while you’re paddling around. Just be sure to stay safe and check your local laws first.

What Are Some Safety Tips for Drinking Alcohol While Kayaking?

There are a few safety concerns to keep in mind when drinking alcohol while kayaking. It’s crucial to drink sensibly and limit your alcohol intake. Keep an eye out for hazards and paddle safely. Always wear a life jacket while kayaking.

Here are some pointers to keep you protected when you sip a refreshing beverage on the water:

  • Pace yourself. It’s easy to get dehydrated when kayaking, so drink plenty of water between alcoholic beverages.
  • Be cautious of your surroundings. Due to the potential effects of alcohol on judgement and reaction time, it’s critical to pay attention to your surroundings.
  • Wear a life jacket. This is always a good idea when kayaking, but it’s imperative if you’re drinking alcohol.

If you follow these safety tips, you can enjoy a cold beer or glass of wine while staying safe on the water. Cheers!

Can You Get Drunk While Kayaking?

Can You Get Drunk While Kayaking
Can You Get Drunk While Kayaking

You might be curious as to whether drinking is permitted when kayaking. Getting buzzed on your kayak will depend largely on how much you drink and your body weight and metabolism.

If you’re a tiny who drinks a lot of beer, you can get wasted off of one or two beers. But if you’re a 200-pound man who downs four glasses of wine in one sitting, then no way are you getting drunk from that amount.

How long it takes to get drunk depends on what type of alcohol you consume and how quickly your liver can process it before passing out again.

A shot of vodka may take less than 20 minutes before it starts affecting someone’s system, but other types like rum may require closer scrutiny because there are so many more chemicals involved (ginger root juice, for example).

Sobering up after drinking also varies depending on factors such as age, gender, and genetics—but generally speaking, it takes around 4 hours per drink before someone starts feeling noticeable effects again.

Can You Bring Alcohol on a kayak Trip?

In most places, it is legal to bring alcohol on a kayak trip. However, there are some rules about when you can drink and where you can drink it. Alcohol is prohibited from being consumed in the water or on the boat.

If you are under 18 years old in Alaska and consuming alcohol without parental consent, it may be considered a crime punishable by up to 90 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000.

Many states have laws against drinking while paddling (paddling through water), so ask your local guide if this applies before pouring another glass of sangria.

Drinking alcohol while kayaking can lead to some other serious problems:

  • You could hurt yourself or others;
  • damage your equipment;
  • pollute the waterway with empty cans that wash up on shore;
  • attract dangerous wildlife like bears;
  • fall overboard into cold waters where hypothermia


It is possible to drink alcohol while kayaking, but it is not advisable. Drinking alcohol can impair your balance and coordination, making it more challenging to paddle and maneuver your kayak.

It’s important to understand the risks of drinking while kayaking. Alcohol can impair your judgment and coordination, making it more difficult to navigate safely. 

If you consume alcohol while kayaking, do it in moderation, and avoid paddling alone, your risk of hypothermia may also rise.

So, can you drink alcohol while kayaking? The answer is yes, but it is not recommended. Kayaking is a strenuous activity that requires focus and coordination. 

Drinking alcohol will only impair your ability to paddle safely if you choose to drink while kayaking. Make careful to drink in moderation and to stay hydrated.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much should I drink when kayaking?

It depends on your body weight, the type of kayak you are using, and the conditions in which you are kayaking. If in doubt, err on the side of caution and only consume as much alcohol as will make you feel relaxed but not so much that you can safely operate your kayak.

Should I avoid drinking during long trips on the open water?

Yes, you should, if possible, but if you do drink while on long trips on the water, it is essential to be aware of the dangers and drink in moderation.

How does alcohol affect my kayaking performance?

Your coordination and balance may be affected by alcohol, making it more difficult to paddle safely. Additionally, alcohol can also increase your risk of falling overboard.

What Are The Risks of Drinking Alcohol and Kayaking?

Drinking alcohol while kayaking can increase your risk of falling overboard, hypothermia and impairing your judgment and coordination.