Some boating accidents happen because of freak storms. Others happen because of equipment failures. Still others result from inexperience.
However, experts note that speed and alcohol often combine to cause crashes that could otherwise have been avoided. In some cases, people do not realize that standard DUI laws apply to boats as well as cars. Driving a boat while your blood alcohol content (BAC) is over 0.08, or while you are intoxicated and it impairs your ability to drive, is illegal.
Even so, many people who would never drive drunk do not think twice about having a beer on the water. Some people drive boats with a drink in their hand.
When combined with speed, alcohol is especially dangerous. Remember, alcohol reduces your reaction times. Speed does the same thing. A driver who is sober and going at a responsible speed may see another watercraft well before a collision takes place. A speeding, drunk driver may still see the other boat, but not until the last second, when an accident is unavoidable.
It’s also worth noting that many casual boaters do not realize that turning, stopping and slowing down are vastly different in a boat than in a car. At speed, the boat feels like it drives like a car, but anyone who has ever come into the dock going too fast knows just how imprecise a boat can be. Even without alcohol, speed and inexperience lead to accidents.
Have you been injured in a boating accident with a drunk driver? If so, make sure that you know all of your legal rights.