Skip to Content
Contact Form Live Chat Review Us Map & Directions Videos

Accidents Caused by Boating Under the Influence

Recover Your Losses from a BUI Accident with the Help of an Experienced Florida Boating Accident Lawyer

Florida boating laws prohibit intoxicated watercraft operation. Boating Under the Influence (BUI) is a serious offense and can lead to severe or even fatal accidents and injuries. According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, accidents related to boating under the influence were responsible for 32% of water-related fatalities in 2019. 

An in-depth study conducted in the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) estimated that over a 365 day period nearly 30,000 injury-causing boating accidents were unreported. If you or a loved one were injured in an accident caused by a boat operator under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you have the right to hold them accountable. Our Florida boating accident lawyers have more than 40 years of experience holding negligent parties responsible for their actions in boating and watercraft accidents.

Boat Accident

Boating Under the Influence is Illegal in Florida

It is against Florida law to operate a vessel while impaired by alcohol or any other drugs. Fish and wildlife officers are trained to conduct sobriety tests as well as chemical tests to determine if an operator is intoxicated. 

Operating a boat in Florida with a blood-alcohol level of .08% or higher is punishable by fines from $500 to $2,000 and imprisonment. Repeat offenders can face up to five years in prison.

Not only is drinking while boating illegal, but it is also dangerous. The Recreational Boating Statistics, an annual report by the U.S. Coast Guard, shows that an intoxicated boat operator or a passenger is at a greater risk. If you are out on the water with a blood alcohol concentration above the legal limit, you are at a significantly increased risk of being involved in a boating accident. 

How Does BUI Lead to Boating Accidents? 

The impact of alcohol on your judgment, vision and coordination can be immensely dangerous while on the water. As blood alcohol concentration goes up, your ability to process information, assess dangerous situations, and exercise sound judgment goes down.

With so much going on in the boating environment sun, wind, noise, vibration, the USCG determined that driving a boat while intoxicated is more dangerous than driving a car. It is incredibly important to understand your surroundings while operating a boat. Missing a dive flag could end in tragedy.  Alcohol impacts your peripheral vision, depth perception, night vision, and the ability to distinguish colors (particularly red and green) are reduced.

Boating accidents where alcohol is involved are significantly more likely to involve capsizing or someone falling overboard. U.S. Coast Guard data shows that alcohol is a factor in nearly one in five recreational boating fatalities. 

Contact a Boat Accident Attorney in Florida Who Will Fight For You

If you or a loved one has been injured in a watercraft accident where drugs or alcohol were a contributing factor, we are available to talk with you, give you a realistic assessment of your claim, and help you pursue justice. Contact us online or call us at 1-855-436-3814 to schedule an appointment for a free, confidential consultation with an experienced boat accident attorney in Florida.

Searcy Denney Scarola Barnhart & Shipley, PA

What Our Clients Have To Say

" Amazing law firm! As an attorney myself I can say that they truly care about their clients and it shows! "