Boating Under the Influence: A Big “NO” in All 50 States

Oct 24, 2016 by

Driving under the influence (DUI) is prohibited in all 50 states; so is BUI, which stands for boating under the influence or drinking and operating a boat. All states, in fact, have their own set of penalties for violators of the boating under the influence (BUI) law. While large fines and imprisonment are standard penalties, some states can also impose suspension of operator’s certification, completion of alcohol education program or safe boating course, suspension of operating privileges, or suspension of driver’s license.

BUI laws have been passed due to alcohol and drug-related boating injuries and fatalities that just kept on occurring every year, especially during the boating season. Alcohol, as mentioned in the official website of the Boating Safety Resource Center, the U.S. Coast Guard’s Boating Safety Division, is the leading contributing factor in fatal boating accidents. Drinking, as a matter of fact, impairs a boat operator faster than it would a car driver who is on land. This is due to the overall condition at sea, such as the motion of a boat, the sun and the heat, the sea breeze, the noise, the wind, and the glare of the sea water. All these, which are referred to as “boater’s fatigue,” can affect the physical and mental abilities of a boat operator much faster.

According to the United States Coast Guard, the effects of alcohol when consumed while on sea include:

Deterioration of judgment, cognitive abilities, as well as the ability to make wise assessment of any situation;
Problem in balance, lack of coordination and failure to make timely reaction to dangers;
Decrease in peripheral or night vision and depth perception; and Difficulty in pulling self out of the cold water (if thrown overboard), resulting to hypothermia and death.

According to the website of the Toronto personal injury lawyers at Mazin and Associates, the possible results of accidents vary – from a minor bumps or bruises to fractures or severe head injuries. In cases involving serious harm to a victim, the liable party or his/her insurance provider is often unwilling to pay the full amount of compensation that will cover all the damages suffered by the victim, especially the amount that will enable the victim to receive full and proper medical treatment that will help him/her recover immediately. It can be to the victim’s advantage if he/she would pursue legal action against the liable party through the help of a seasoned personal injury lawyer.

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