Boating Under the Influence

Thanks to wide media coverage, we’ve all heard of Driving Under the Influence (DUI). People know the many repercussions that come with it. Apart from the obvious danger that you’re directing to yourself and the people around you if you get into a boating accident, you’re also opening yourself up to the possibility of being fined or incarcerated. What you may never have heard of though is Boating Under the Influence (BUI).

What is Boating Under the Influence (BUI)?

According to the U.S. Coast Guard, it’s more difficult to drive on water when you’re intoxicated than it is on land. This is due to the fact that you are affected by other factors – such as heat, noise, sun, wind, and glare – that can cause boater’s fatigue. That’s why it’s not hard to imagine that the number of boating accidents in the country has risen 34% in the recent years. Most of them are related to alcohol and drug use. In some cases, the victims are lucky to only suffer minor injuries, but there are those that result in actual fatalities.

boating accident

Like in DUIs, it matters less what you’re operating – be it a watercraft, fishing boat, yacht or a sailboat. If you start driving a water vehicle under the influence, you can be pulled over and charged with a BUI. The punishment can range from minimal, civil fines, and forfeit of your license, to jail time. Often, the latter is employed when your reckless action has caused the injuries or fatalities of other individuals.

On top of those consequences which are often exercised when the boat operator is driving recreationally, commercial boaters could also lose the license to run their business and be asked to pay much steeper fines. For any type of boat operator though, this comes with a criminal record, the possibility of being required to go to counseling and higher insurance rates.

Remember that because there are also state laws applied on top the federal penalties that are implemented, you should check in with your attorney regarding the most current boating safety requirements. They’re usually changed during the summer when most boating accidents happen.

If you are caught boating under the influence, contact our office immediately.  This could help save you from serious consequences.

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