If you were injured in a boating accident by a driver who was intoxicated, can he be required to submit to a breathalyzer test? Find out what the new law says.

Will the Drunk Boater Who Hit You Have to Take a Breathalyzer Test?

For many boaters, having a few beers and spending time on the water is a natural combination. Nice weather, being outside, and time away from work only get better with a couple of drinks. While it is not illegal to have alcohol on boats, driving a boat when intoxicated is illegal. Boat drivers who have blood alcohol content levels of .08 or higher can be charged with boating under the influence. If found guilty, they can receive misdemeanor charges, which carries a maximum penalty of 364 days in jail and a $5,000 fine. And if they injure others in the process, they can be held liable for damages.

When You’re Injured by A Drunk Boater

You were cruising across the Sound, enjoying the beautiful weather, when you were hit by another boater who was clearly intoxicated. What can the Coast Guard do to prove it? Before a new law was signed in 2013 the answer was “not much.” Now, however, the drunk boater is subject to the following:

  • Penalties for not obliging. Under the new legislation, SSB 5437, boaters who refuse breath tests will receive charges that are similar to motorists who don’t participate. Those who refuse the tests are now in violation of Washington’s implied consent law. They will be guilty of a Class 1 civil infraction and can receive a fine of $1,000.
  • Only those arrested must consent. Under the new legislation, boaters are only required to submit to the testing after they’ve been arrested for boating under the influence. Once they have evidence you operated the vessel with a blood alcohol content above .08, you can receive jail time and/or fines.

We Want to Help

If you have questions or concerns regarding a boating accident caused by a drunk boater, the Andrew Kim Law Offices may be able to help. Contact us today by filling out our online form or by calling 800.636.3676. Our team has helped many folks in the Seattle area following boating accidents and may be able to do the same for you.

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