Boating while under the influence is as dangerous and irresponsible as driving while impaired. On Florida waters, the limit for blood alcohol concentration in boat operators is .08%, which is the same as for motor vehicle drivers. Reportedly, almost 50% of boating accidents nationwide involve alcohol.
Any boat operator who tests over the legal BAC limit could be punished as follows:
- Suspension of boating license and linked privileges
- Possible negative effect on the person’s driving record
- Seizure of the boat to put up for sale at auction
Along with criminal punishment, any injuries or deaths caused by an impaired boater could lead to civil lawsuits.
Alcohol impairs judgment
Sometimes, people do not realize the many ways in which alcohol affects them. It could reduce their inhibitions, making them more likely to try high-risk stunts that they might not do if they were sober.
Alcohol affects a person’s balance
Compromised balance on a boat could be a life-threatening condition. Safety authorities say about one in every four boating-related fatalities are caused by drowning after falling overboard.
Alcohol slows reactions
A boat operator typically has to react to multiple signals and circumstances at once. Alcohol delays the speed at which senses like the eyes and ears send information to the brain, thereby compromising the ability to react in time to prevent accidents. The combination of alcohol and night darkness exacerbates the risks while boating after dark.
Additional boating stressors
The motion of waves on the water and exposure to the heat of the sun, engine vibration and noise cause fatigue. When alcohol is added to these stressors, the risks of an accident multiply.
Victims of boating accidents caused by impaired boaters in Florida might have grounds to file personal injury lawsuits in a civil court. Similarly, surviving family members may hold an impaired boat operator accountable for financial and other losses after the death of a loved one.