Grimes & Fertitta, P.C.

Boating accidents may be an issue during Labor Day weekend

Most alcohol safety measures focus on preventing drunk drivers from causing accidents on the road. Indeed, there will be more drivers on the road during Labor Day weekend, but those who operate watercraft while intoxicated are equally dangerous. Not only can they be a danger to other boaters, the risk of drowning is considerably high when they are under the influence of alcohol. In fact, the U.S. Coast Guard reports that alcohol use is the leading cause of fatal boating accidents

With that, it is expected that sheriff's deputies and park police will be patrolling Houston area lakes to ensure people are operating their vessels safely. 

Indeed, it is not illegal to consume alcohol while enjoying your time on the water, but those who operate boats must do so in accordance with Texas law. Essentially, those who operate boats while having a blood alcohol level of .08 or above can be charged with a crime. Moreover, the effects of alcohol while on the water can be greater (and a person's judgment impaired), when the sun, wind and rocking motion are all taken into account.

Boaters convicted of drunk boating can be held civilly liable if their actions result in an accident. A criminal offense can be used as prima facie evidence that the duty to use reasonable care in driving a boat has been breached, and that such a breach is the proximate cause of a person's injuries (as well as property damage). If you have questions about your right to recover compensation stemming from a boating accident, an experienced personal injury attorney can help.

Source: ClaimsJournal.com, Drunken boating remains an issue on Great Lakes, August 19, 2013

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