By now, everyone knows how unwise it is to drink and get the behind the wheel of a vehicle, but this dangerous practice is more widespread than that. The fun and relaxation of time on the local lake or other body of water can lead to the use of alcohol and other substances, which could result in an extremely bad situation for passengers, swimmers, and other boaters. Make no mistake about it, boating while intoxicated is just as bad, and the offense is just as serious as on-the-road incidences. Read on to find out more about unsafe boating and how it could affect you.
In The News
It happens all the time, but sometimes it take a famous person to be involved to bring attention to the issue. In September of 2016, the Miami Marlin's Jose Fernandez died when the boat he was in crashed. Two other people in the boat also died that day, and all three had alcohol in their systems at the time of crash. Two of the men also had cocaine in their bodies, and Fernandez had enough booze on board to be considered legally drunk. The Fernandez estate is now the target of a wrongful death suit filed by the families of the other two men.
Boating: Fun But Dangerous
Some people just fail to consider how alcohol can affect them when operating watercraft. Just because you are doing something that appears to be recreational doesn't mean you can let your guard down and get inebriated. On the road, alcohol and drugs can cause impairments related to slowed reactions times, and boating can present a number of potential dangerous similar situations, such as steering boats into swimmers, other boats, docks, and more. Furthermore, boating while being drunk is illegal.
The National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NABLA) and the Coast Guard has partnered up to highlight this issue and to try and save lives on the water. Using the media, these two organizations have formed Operation Dry Water. This campaign works in tandem with local law enforcement agencies, such as fish and wildlife, shore patrol, and game wardens to protect the public from boating dangers.
Boating While Impaired (BWI) Penalties
While it can vary somewhat from state to state, the penalties for boating while impaired closely parallel those for driving while intoxicated (DUI). In most cases, perpetrators can face arrest, fines, jail time, loss of driver's license, and seizure of the watercraft.
If you have been injured or if your loved one has been victimized by an impaired boat driver, speak to a personal injury attorney at once. Along with criminal charges against that boater, you should be compensated.
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