Was the boat operator who caused your accident intoxicated? Learn Washington State’s BUI laws and how drunk boating causes serious accidents.

Boating and Consuming Alcohol Are a Dangerous Mix

Boating under the influence of alcoholBoating under the influence (BUI) is illegal in Washington State. More importantly, boating while under the influence of drugs or alcohol can put you, your family, and others on the water in danger of serious injury or death. According to the United States Coast Guard, alcohol was the leading contributing cause of fatalities in boating accidents in 2016, causing 15 percent of all deaths. If a boat operator caused you or a loved one to suffer injuries in a boat accident due to alcohol or drug intoxication, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.

How Does BUI Cause Boating Accidents?

In Washington State, the legal limit for operating a boat under the influence of alcohol is 0.08 percent and 5.0 nanograms for operating a boat under the influence of marijuana. Operating a boat in violation of these laws is both a state and federal offense that could result in harsh penalties and a permanent criminal record.

In addition, alcohol or drug consumption can seriously impair a person’s ability to safely operate a boat—even more of a danger than driving a motor vehicle when drunk. This is in part due to the operator’s lack of experience in operating a boat and marine environmental conditions, such as motion, vibration, engine noise, sun, and wind, which can accelerate the negative effects of intoxication. Common ways that BUI causes boating accidents include:

  • Reduced cognitive abilities and judgment
  • Physical impairments, such as loss of balance and coordination
  • Reduced reaction times
  • Impaired vision
  • Inner ear disturbances which can make it difficult to determine which way is up if a person falls overboard—which is common when alcohol or drugs are consumed
  • Lack of ability to identify when hypothermia is developing due to the warmth from alcohol consumption
  • Increased fatigue

Let Us Help You Prove Your Right to Compensation in a BUI Accident      

You need the assistance of an experienced boating accident attorney to prove that the intoxicated boat operator caused your accident. Like in drunk driving motor vehicle accidents, an officer can require an operator to submit to a breathalyzer test if he has probable cause to believe that the operator was intoxicated. Your attorney can help you obtain the results of this test, which can be strong evidence to prove the other driver’s negligence.

If you suffered injuries in a BUI boating accident, our skilled boating accident attorneys are here to fight aggressively for the compensation for your injuries you deserve. To schedule your free consultation, call our office or fill out our online form.