5 Facts About Boating Under the Influence (BUI) in Florida

Beer on boat - BUI

Alcohol Is a Contributing Factor in Many Boating Accidents, Often Resulting in Serious Injury or Death

Florida’s pristine coastline and endless waterways draw large numbers of boating enthusiasts each year. Unfortunately, people often decide to operate a vessel under the influence, and the results can be deadly. Studies show that alcohol use continues to be a leading contributing factor in fatal boating accidents.

If you have been injured in a boating accident, contact the experienced attorneys at Mase Mebane for a free consultation. Our trial lawyers will help you understand your rights and will aggressively pursue the maximum compensation available in your case—call (844) 627-3529 to discuss your legal options.

5 Facts About BUI

Under Section 327.35 of the Florida Statutes, the following facts apply to boating under the influence in Florida:

  1.     It is unlawful to operate a vessel in the state of Florida with a blood alcohol level of 0.08% or higher.
  2.     On a first conviction, you could face a fine between $500 and $1000.
  3.     You could face up to 6 months in jail for a first conviction.
  4.     Penalties can increase if your blood alcohol level is over .15%.
  5.     If you are operating a boat under the influence and cause an accident resulting in serious injury to another person, you could be charged with a felony, facing up to five years in prison.

The Prevalence of Boating Under the Influence

According to the United States Coast Guard, alcohol is the “leading known contributing factor” in deadly boating accidents. Alcohol use was also one of the top five primary contributing factors in boating accidents that resulted in injury.

When alcohol is involved, a day of water recreation can turn tragic. Since 2015, Florida has led the nation in boating accidents related to alcohol use. In order to reduce injuries and deaths, the Florida Legislature encourages all boaters to have a “designated driver” who abstains from alcohol consumption while operating the vessel.

Civil and Criminal Liability

Boating under the influence (BUI) in Florida can result in both criminal and civil liability. An operator who is under the influence may be held liable for personal injuries and property damage caused in an accident.

Florida law also has strict criminal penalties for boating under the influence. Many boaters are surprised by the serious nature of the charges.

Pursuing a Claim for Damages in a BUI Accident

If you are injured in a boating accident, you may have to pursue damages through a civil lawsuit. A person held criminally responsible for the act of boating under the influence will not automatically result in financial restitution for a boating accident victim.

It is important to act fast to preserve your right to recovery. Boating personal injury cases in the State of Florida are subject to a statute of limitations. Failure to bring a claim within the statute of limitations may limit or bar your right to receive compensation for your injuries.

Contact Our Office for a Free Consultation

Too often, a person’s careless conduct causes irreparable harm. Alcohol is a leading cause of fatal boating accidents in Florida and throughout the country.

If you are injured in a boating accident where the operator was under the influence, contact our office immediately. We have recovered millions through verdicts and settlements on behalf of our clients. Get the dedicated, personalized representation you deserve. Call Mase Mebane at (844) 627-3529 for a free case consultation.