Boat Accidents and DUI
By Michael Verna on July 28, 2019
Just like automobile accidents, boat accidents can cause extensive damage and catastrophic injuries. The majority of boat accidents are caused by error on the part of a boater. And, unfortunately, many boating accidents are directly related to operating a vessel while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Individuals who have been injured in boat accidents involving DUI have a right to seek financial compensation for accident damages. The attorneys at our Walnut Creek, CA, legal practice, Bowles & Verna, LLP, can help boat accident victims fight for the compensation they are due.
Although most people are familiar with DUI laws for their area, many are unaware that similar laws exist pertaining to the operation of watercraft. Known as “boating under the influence,” or BUI, these laws set regulations that are meant to maximize water safety and decrease the risk of a boat accident.
Our Walnut Creek clients should understand that California has a strict set of BUI laws. According to these laws, it is illegal to:
- Operate a boat while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Operate a recreational vessel with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or higher
- Operate a commercial vessel with a BAC of .04 or higher
- Commit a negligent act that causes injury to another person while operating a vessel under the influence of alcohol
Effects of Alcohol on the Water
Despite the strict regulations that are in place, BUI is a common crime. Unfortunately, the dangers of BUI are immense. In fact, the U.S. Coast Guard reports that alcohol is even more dangerous on water than it is on land.
The motion of the boat, heat from the sun, wind, and engine noise can all accelerate a drinker’s impairment. The boating environment is also likely to cause fatigue, which further impairs a boater’s judgement, reaction time, and physical performance. The effects of alcohol are most dangerous for an inexperienced boater, who already lacks the knowledge to react to a dangerous situation.
With all of these considerations, it is easy to see why alcohol and boating are such a bad mix. The combination is so dangerous that the Coast Guard estimates a third of recreational boating fatalities involve the use of alcohol.
Boat Accident Damages
Boat accident injuries can be significant, especially when alcohol is involved. Victims may need to undergo extensive medical treatment, which can result in medical bills and a loss of income while they recover from injuries.
At Bowles & Verna, our attorneys are ready to work hard to get our Walnut Creek clients the maximum compensation they are due following a boat accident. In addition to the financial damages a victim sustains, we will also seek compensation for non-monetary damages, including pain and suffering.
If you have been injured in a boat accident involving DUI and you would like to learn more about your legal options, contact us at your earliest convenience. The boat accident attorneys at Bowles & Verna would be happy to discuss the details of your case and advise you on your best course of legal action. To set up a personal consultation, call (925) 935-3300.