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A deadly cocktail: Boating and alcohol do not mix

Posted On behalf of Michael D'Amico of D'Amico & Pettinicchi, LLC on Jun 23, 2014 in Boating Accidents

As the summer heats up, many Connecticut residents might be eager to enjoy boating as a pastime. After all, spending time on the water is a great way to stay cool while the weather swelters. Even though boating can be fun, it's also a major responsibility.

Many people may not equate driving a vehicle on land to operating a boat on the water, but many of the same safety issues exist in both scenarios. Namely, it is dangerous to consume alcohol while operating a motor vehicle on land or water. In fact, drinking alcohol while on a boat may affect a person’s sobriety more quickly than if they were consuming on land.

According to the U.S. Coast Guard, the jostling motion of a boat, vibrations from the motor and heat of the sun can cause a person to get intoxicated faster on water than on land. As such, when people are looking to have a few beers and go for a boat ride, they might not be able to accurately judge their level of sobriety. In turn, higher levels of impairment obviously increase the odds of boat accidents occurring.

The impact of drinking and boating is pretty clear, which is illustrated by data from the Coast Guard. Boat operators who have a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.1 percent are 10 times as like to die as operators who haven't consumed any alcohol.

According to the 2014 Connecticut Boater's Guide, boat operators can face serious legal penalties for boating under the influence, much luck land-based drivers. Similarly, the legal threshold for impairment is 0.08 percent for Connecticut boaters.

Although being arrested for BUI could result in jail time or hundreds of dollars in fines and legal expenses, people will continue to make unfortunate decisions. This type of poor judgment can adversely impact the lives of those caught in an accident. Even if the operator faces criminal charges after a BUI accident, victims may still have the option to pursue recovery through with a civil claim.

Source: U.S. Coast Guard, "Boating Under the Influence Initiatives," accessed June 23, 2014