We all know how dangerous it is to drink and drive. Alcohol effects our reaction time, our depth perception, our balance and most critically, our judgment. All of these effects are multiplied when you drink in the hot sun on a boat. The motion of the water and relaxed atmosphere of the boat contribute to the feeling of drunkenness, too. Many people underestimate these effects when having fun on the water, which is why inebriation is the leading cause of boating accidents nation-wide.
Most people have much more experience driving on the road than they do with boating, but too many people conflate the two, expecting to be just as good at one as the other. Being overconfident on the water can lead to mistakes, particularly when alcohol is involved. National data shows that the average boater has only 110 hours of experience – less than five days total.
Just like when driving a car, it is illegal to operate a boat when your blood alcohol content is at a .08 level or higher. The Coast Guard has the right to board a boat if it is being maneuvered erratically. They can perform a field sobriety test, just as a police officer would during a traffic stop. The reasons for this are clear: people are 10 times more likely to die in a boating accident when the operator has a blood alcohol concentration of .10 or higher.
If you plan to imbibe on the water, make sure you have a sober driver to steer the watercraft, as well as a reliable way to call for help if necessary. The Coast Guards new smart phone app allows you to call them for emergencies with just the click of a button. When you have location services turned on, the app will send your exact coordinates to the Coast Guard, allowing for quick rescue.
Maritime Accident Lawyer Richard Serpe
Sailors on sailboats and powerboats, and even jet ski operators, are covered under the general maritime law. Special regulations and rules, including Coast Guard regulations and the Limitation of Liability Act, can have an important impact on victims injured on pleasure boats.
After law school, Richard Serpe obtained a Masters Degree in maritime law. Richard Serpe has over 29 years of experience helping victims injured in accidents caused by someone else’s negligence. If you’ve been injured, setup a free consultation to discuss your situation 877-544-5323.