The bays and coves of Florida’s panhandle are perfect for boating and Jet Ski riding. Whether you are enjoying a beautiful day in East Bay, Choctawhatchee Bay, or the Santa Rosa Sound, you depend on other boaters obeying the law and respecting the safety of others.
Unfortunately, boating and drinking go hand in hand for many people in this area. Operating a boat or Jet Ski while under the influence of alcohol is not only dangerous, but it is also illegal.
If you were the victim of a boating accident caused by a drunk boater, you can hold him responsible for your medical bills and other losses if you can prove he caused your accident. A boating accident attorney can help.
What Is Boating Under the Influence in Florida?
Boating under the influence (BUI) is very similar to driving under the influence (DUI). In Florida, it is illegal to operate a vessel while impaired by drugs or alcohol. A vessel is defined as any watercraft capable of transporting people on the water, including boats, barges, airboats, and personal watercrafts such as a Jet Skis. A person may be considered to be under the influence if either of the following applies:
- The person’s normal faculties are impaired by drugs, alcohol, or a combination of the two.
- The person has a blood or breath alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or greater.
A drunk boater or Jet Ski operator is unlikely to be able to adequately control his vessel. He may speed, drive recklessly, and take unnecessary risks on the water—increasing the likelihood of a crash. If he crashes into another vessel or runs over a swimmer, he should be held accountable for the injuries he has caused.
How Can an Attorney Help With a Boating Accident Claim?
Boating accidents can cause serious injuries, including traumatic brain injury, severe burns, broken bones, spinal cord damage, and near-drownings. If you suffer any of these serious injuries in a boating accident caused by a drunk boater or jet ski operator in Destin, Navarre, or Niceville, an experienced boating accident attorney can help you gather the evidence needed to hold the boater responsible. Contact Browning Law Firm in Fort Walton Beach to find out how we can help with your recovery.