Florida Boat Accidents: Officials Cracking Down on Intoxicated Boaters

by Carmen Dellutri on July 18, 2011

Florida BUI accidentFlorida boaters should be aware that the U.S. Coast Guard and Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission law enforcement officers will be patrolling the state’s waterways this summer looking for those who may be boating under the influence (BUI).

The enforcement effort is aimed at reducing the number of alcohol and drug-related accidents and fatalities.

While most Floridians are familiar with Florida’s laws regarding DUI, many do not realize that many of the same rules apply to boating. Responsible boating is equally as important— U.S. Coast Guard 2009 data reveal that alcohol was a primary contributing factor in 16 percent of fatalities from recreational boating accidents.

Here’s what you need to know to stay safe this summer:

  • It is a violation of Florida law to operate a vessel while impaired by alcohol or other drugs.
  • A vessel operator suspected of boating under the influence must submit to sobriety tests and a physical or chemical test to determine blood- or breath-alcohol content.
  • In Florida, a vessel operator is presumed to be under the influence if their blood- or breath-alcohol level is at or above .08.
  • Any person under 21 years of age who is found to have a breath-alcohol level of .02 or higher and operates or is in actual physical control of a vessel is in violation of Florida law.
  • Sun, wind, noise, vibration, and motion – “stressors” common to the boating environment – intensify the side effects of alcohol, drugs, and some medications.
  • Alcohol can impair a boater’s judgment, balance, vision, and reaction time. It can increase fatigue and susceptibility to the effects of cold-water immersion.

The Dellutri Law Group is focused on making bad situations better and putting lives back together. If you or someone you love has been seriously injured in a Florida boating accident, you may be entitled to compensation.

To learn more about your legal options, contact our experienced injury attorneys for a free consultation.


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