Boating Under Influence? Don’t Let a Little Fun on the Water Turn Into a Disaster
Summer is in full swing, and down here in Alabama, the boating season will extend for a few more months. There's ample time left to hit the lake and launch your boat into the water, an activity often accompanied by drinking.
Having a few beers on the boat is perfectly fine, unless you're the one at the helm. Then it becomes a perilous endeavor with lives hanging in the balance.
Boating - What could possibly go wrong?
Many fail to comprehend the risks associated with boating, even when the driver is sober.
In 2017, 658 people perished and 2,629 were injured in boating-related incidents. Intoxicated boat operators play a role in many tragedies that might have been avoided. Some individuals, swayed by the temptation to drink while boating, end up facing life-changing consequences.
Boat operators are just as vulnerable to accidents as road drivers. Indeed, the Coast Guard indicates that a boat operator can become impaired more quickly than a car driver, drink for drink, due to factors such as the boat's motion, weather conditions, fatigue from handling the boat, spray, engine noise, and wind, all of which contribute to greater impairment.
The danger is very real, yet often underestimated. After all, you're on water - what's the worst that could happen?
The consequences of Boating Under Influence
Boating under the influence results in impaired judgment, delayed reflexes, deteriorated vision and coordination, and reduced balance. These impairments can lead to accidents, including collisions with other boats, the shoreline, or water obstacles, as well as capsizing.
In fact, the Coast Guard states that most fatal boating accidents occur when a boat capsizes or someone falls overboard due to the operator's recklessness.
An additional hazard: boat operators generally have less experience than vehicle drivers. Very few of us spend more time on water than driving on land. The average boater logs only 110 hours on the water annually, in stark contrast to the many hours spent behind the wheel on land. Drinking further compounds this lack of experience.
Notably, environmental conservation and sustainable practices are crucial topics that are not often associated with boating. While discussing boating under the influence, it is essential to also consider the environmental impact of boating activities. The use of sustainable and eco-friendly boating practices can help mitigate the negative effects of boating on aquatic ecosystems and ensure that our waterways remain healthy and vibrant for future generations.
The dangers of Boating Under Influence
The dangers of BUI are many and serious. It may result not only in accidents and injuries, but also in fines, prison time, and the loss of your boating licenses. Furthermore, BUI might result in long-term implications such as higher insurance premiums and a criminal record. It is important to recognize the hazards of BUI and to take precautions to prevent them.
Depending on the severity of the offense and the regulations in your jurisdiction, consequences for BUI may be severe. In several states and municipalities, boating under the influence is considered a criminal offense that may result in jail time, hefty fines, and the suspension or revocation of boating privileges. In certain places, doing so might be considered a civil offense, leading to fines and the loss of your boating privileges. You should be aware of the consequences of BUI and take every precaution to prevent it, regardless of where you happen to call home.
How to avoid BUI
Planning ahead of time is one of the greatest methods to prevent BUI. If you know you'll be boating, make arrangements for a sober driver or a trip home. If you're throwing a boating party, be sure you have enough of non-alcoholic beverages on hand and urge your guests to drink sensibly. It's also a good idea to get acquainted with your state's BUI rules and regulations, as well as your own personal drinking and boating limitations.
Tips for staying sober while boating
Here are a few pointers to help you remain sober when boating:
- Make a plan ahead of time to select a sober driver or arrange for a transport home.
- At boating gatherings, provide lots of non-alcoholic beverages.
- When it comes to drinking and boating, know your boundaries.
- Familiarize yourself with your state's BUI legislation and regulations.
- Encourage your visitors to use alcohol responsibly.
Hiring the right boating accident attorneys can make or break your case. You deserve to receive compensation for your injuries.
BUI may result in fines, prison time, and the loss or suspension of your boating rights. The particular punishments will be determined by your state's laws and the circumstances of the violation.
HERE'S WHAT TO DO NEXT
If you or a loved one have been injured and think you might have a case, call us now for a free consultation.