Summer is arguably the best time of the year to enjoy boating. But having fun does not always need to include the consumption of alcohol. The Coast Guard recently announced that they are cracking down on Boating under the Influence (BUI) across the nation. It is illegal to operate a boat while intoxicated. You might think: “But it sounds nice to have a fresh beer on the boat, why not just one?

Summer Boating

Drinking while on a boat is a very different bodily reaction than say drinking in a dark bar. The sun and wind take a lot out of your body so the effects of alcohol tend to progress stronger and faster than usual. This makes it especially dangerous for those who are entrusting you with their safety on a boat. If you or a loved one were recently injured in a boating accident, you should call a RI boating accident lawyer today to see if you qualify for compensation.

What is the Law Regarding Drinking on a Boat?

boat operator consuming alcohol while driving a boat

In RI, the operator of the boat is the designated driver and should not consume alcohol or drugs. It is illegal to have a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of 0.08% or greater while operating a vessel in RI. As a first offender with a blood alcohol level of below 0.10%, you are looking at fines, suspension of vessel license, community service, and other fees.

Meanwhile, in Massachusetts, the BUI laws are one of the strictest in the nation. MA has the same laws as RI but with much stricter sanctions if caught BUI. In MA, if you operate a vessel with an alcohol content level of 0.08% or higher, you are subject to fines, time in jail, and having your motor vehicle license revoked/suspended. If you are caught operating a boat under the influence that resulted in physical injuries of another person, you could be facing up to ten years in prison.

Why is Boating Intoxicated Dangerous?

Boating Accident

In 2017 alone, there were 658 deaths and $46 million dollars of damage as a result of boating accidents. The leading known cause of fatal boating accidents is alcohol consumption. Although, it seems obvious that the operator of the boat should not consume alcohol, it is also dangerous for passengers to drink while boating. Alcohol deteriorates a person’s motor functions and visual perception, which leads many people to fall off the boat entirely.

boating accident victims

In 76% of the fatal boating accidents, the cause of death was determined to be drowning. Drowning can occur even with the best of safety mechanisms on board. That is why lowering the risk of people falling overboard is crucial and a large way to reduce that risk is by prohibiting alcohol consumption on your boat.

Contact an Experienced Boating Accident Lawyer Today!

Boating Accident LawyerIf you or a loved one has recently suffered physical injuries after a boating accident, you may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering, among other losses. We are accepting Newport, RI boating accident cases today and charge no fee unless we get the settlement or award that you deserve. Call us today toll free 24/7 at 1-800-992-6878 or fill out an online contact form for a free (no obligation) case evaluation.

Sources:

  1. wpri.com/news/local-news/east-bay/dont-drink-and-boat-coast-guard-cracking-down-on-buis-in-national-campaign/
  2. boat-ed.com/rhodeisland/handbook/page/47/Alcohol-and-Drugs/
  3. uscgboating.org/library/accident-statistics/Recreational-Boating-Statistics-2017.pdf
Author Photo

Paul d’Oliveira

Attorney Paul d’Oliveira has been practicing personal injury and disability law for over 30 years. He started his personal injury law practice in 1989 with two offices in Fall River, MA and East Providence, RI. Today his firm has 15 offices in RI and Southeastern, MA.

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