Are Drunk Boating Accidents A Problem In Florida?

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The beautiful state of Florida is surrounded by the Gulf of Mexico on one side and the Atlantic Ocean on the other, and it contains many other bodies of water besides these. Coupled with Florida’s warm, sunny weather, this makes our state ideal for boating and enjoying other activities on the water. Unfortunately, this also makes boating accidents caused by intoxicated boaters a very real threat. Alcohol use is the leading cause of wrongful death while boating. Several states in our nation are becoming increasingly aware of how serious boating under the influence (BUI) can be and are taking actions to prevent alcohol-related boating injuries.

Is Boating While Intoxicated Dangerous?

For some, BUI does not seem very hazardous. Unlike on crowded roads, boats usually have a great deal of space on the open water and no set paths to follow. However, alcohol use can be significantly more dangerous on water than on land. Those who consume alcohol are more likely to experience its effects faster while boating than on land due to the motion of the boat and the water, vibrations, engine noise, sun and other factors. These can all accelerate how quickly a boater becomes impaired.

The common effects of alcohol can cause significant problems with a boat operator’s vision, coordination, balance, cognitive abilities and other necessary skills. The movement of the water only worsens the effects of alcohol, and even if these boaters are not involved in collisions with other people, they are likely to capsize their boats or fall overboard. Intoxicated boaters are less likely to notice other vessels, swimmers or obstacles in the water and react in time to avoid them.

What are the Florida Boating and Drinking Laws?

Although no amount of alcohol-consumption while boating is safe, a boater in Florida with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 percent or higher can be charged with BUI. A BUI conviction in Florida comes with the following penalties:

  • First offense – Up to a $1,000 fine and up to 6 months of time in prison
  • Second offense – A fine of up to $2,000 and up to 9 months in prison

Penalties can become more severe for frequent offenders. Additional punishments may also apply to those with a BAC of .15 percent or higher. If a person operates a boat recklessly or hurts others while within the legal BAC limit, that boater may be convicted of reckless boating.

Lawyer That Handles Boating Accidents in Florida

Drunk boaters are dangerous and can destroy lives just like drunk drivers. If a drunk boater caused you to suffer serious injuries, attorney Maria Gerber can stand by your side. You deserve an attorney who will do everything they can to gain the compensation you deserve, and our injury attorney can do this for you. To get free attorney advice about your case, call our Venice office today.

Categories: Boating Accidents