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The Dangers of Boating Under the Influence (BUI)

Boating Accidents

Boating is a popular activity in the Sunshine State. Many tourists and local residents enjoy recreational boating activities each year in the tropical Florida waters by taking part in activities such as sailing, speed boating, and skiing, among others. When vessels are operated safely, they can be an enjoyable and exciting activity for both work and leisure.   

Unfortunately, some individuals operate boats and vessels under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. This dangerous act is known as “boating under the influence” or BUI.  Engaging in BUI can cause serious bodily injuries to those on the vessel being operated as well as other innocent boaters. 

If you were injured in a boating accident because of an incident involving BUI, the Florida personal injury lawyers at Searcy Denney can help. Our experienced legal team has decades of experience in personal injury cases and we are trained in BUI cases. Our firm helps clients recover the compensation they are entitled to for the injuries sustained in a boating accident caused by vessel operators who were under the influence of alcohol. 

What Does the Law Say About Boating Under the Influence?

Many state laws regulate drinking alcohol and operating a boat or vessel. These laws are often similar to drinking and driving laws. In many states, it is illegal to operate a boat with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or greater. Although many people are aware of DUI laws, some are not aware of state laws governing BUI. In most states operating a boat or vessel under the influence may be as serious of an offense as a DUI. The consequences for engaging in BUI may include, but are not limited to:

  • Criminal charges 
  • Loss or suspension of a boating license 
  • Loss of driving privileges 
  • Monetary fines 
  • And more  

What Does Florida’s BUI Law Provide?

Florida law prohibits operating a vessel while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. More specifically, the law defines a vessel as all “watercraft, barge, and airboat, other than a seaplane on the water, used or capable of being used as a means of transportation on water.” In Florida, a boat operator can be convicted of a BUI by operating a vessel with a BAC of .08% or greater, or if the operator’s normal faculties are impaired by drugs, alcohol, or both. Additionally, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, “any person under 21 years of age who is found to have a breath-alcohol level of .02 or higher and operates or is in actual physical control of a vessel is in violation of Florida law.”

Boating under the influence in Florida can result in severe consequences – both criminal and civil. A boat operator under the influence of alcohol or other substances may be held legally responsible for injuries and property damage sustained by an injured party as a direct result of the operator.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission provides some helpful information about boating regulations and safety including, but not limited to, the following:

Although the Florida government provides many safety resources for boaters to reference before setting sail on a vessel, many people still do not follow the state’s BUI laws. BUI can cause individuals involved in the accident to sustain injuries such as broken bones, serious paralysis, spinal cord injuries, and amputated limbs, among others. If you were injured from a boat injury caused by a boat operator who was under the influence, seek legal guidance from the Florida personal injury lawyers at Searcy Denney. We can help.

What Damages Can You Pursue in a BUI Case?

If you were seriously injured in a BUI accident, you may be able to recover monetary damages  for a variety of different damages including, but not limited to: 

  • Lost wages
  • Medical bills
  • Pain and suffering, among other damages 

Our Florida personal injury lawyers can evaluate your case and help you fight for the compensation to which you are entitled.  We fight for our clients.

Need Help with Your BUI Case? Our Florida Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help With Your Claim

If you were injured in a boating accident caused by a boat operator under the influence, contact Searcy Denney today. The Florida personal injury lawyers at our firm have decades of experience in personal injury law and are trained in BUI cases. Our track record of success speaks for itself. Call us toll-free at 800-780-8607 or contact us online to schedule a free initial consultation with one of our attorneys. We have offices conveniently located in TampaWest Palm Beach and Tallahassee. We are here for you.

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