Staying Safe on the Water this Holiday Season

boat on water in florida

The Dangers (and Potential Penalties) of Boating Under the Influence  

Warm winter months and clear coastal waters make recreational boating a favorite holiday activity for South Floridians. A fun day on the water can quickly take a turn for the worse if alcohol is involved. To stay safe this holiday season, remember never to operate a boat while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.   

At Mase Mebane Seitz, we are dedicated trial lawyers who represent individuals injured or killed in boating accidents in Miami and throughout South Florida. If you have been injured in a boat accident and need superior legal representation, contact our office at (844) 627-3529 for a free consultation.  

BUI Safety Checklist 

The best way to avoid danger on the water is to never operate a vessel with any amount of alcohol or drugs in your system.   

If you plan to go on the water this holiday season:  

  • Boat sober 
  • Pack plenty of fresh water 
  • Make sure that you have plenty of snacks aboard 
  • Avoid situations where you know there will be alcohol 
  • Limit the amount of time you are out
  • Have life vests and floatation devices for yourself and all passengers
  • Encourage your passengers not to drink to excess while aboard the vessel

Any substance that can impair your judgment, reaction time, or physical and mental abilities can put yourself, your passengers, and other people on the water at risk for serious injury or death.  

The Risks of Boating Under the Influence (BUI) 

Things can change quickly on the water. Inclement weather can arise in a matter of minutes; calm waters can get rough quickly. If you are under the influence, you may not be able to react fast enough to these changing conditions, putting everyone in danger.  

While boating is one of the most enjoyable activities to do during the winter months, it can become treacherous. By staying sober, you can ensure that you are thinking clearly and making smart decisions as unpredictable situations arise.  

BUI Criminal Penalties in Florida 

Boating under the influence is a criminal offense in Florida. A conviction for a first offense BUI can result in up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. The penalties increase if it is your second or subsequent conviction, a passenger under the age of 18 was aboard, or a blood alcohol level of 0.15% or higher.  

Under most circumstances, boating under the influence is a misdemeanor; however, it can be charged as a felony of the third degree if the person operating under the influence causes or contributes to the serious bodily injury of another. If someone is killed, the operator could face BUI manslaughter charges. 

Bringing a Civil Lawsuit If You Are Injured in a BUI Accident 

A person injured as a result of a driver boating while impaired can also file a civil lawsuit. A civil lawsuit is designed to compensate an injured party for the losses they sustained as a result of the negligent party’s wrongful actions.  

If you were injured in a boating accident caused by someone boating under the influence, you should consult with an experienced attorney. You are likely entitled to damages for your injuries, including compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. 

Involved in a BUI accident? Get a Free Consultation Today. 

If you were involved in a BUI accident, contact our office at (844) 627-3529 for a free, no-obligation case consultation  

At Mase Mebane Seitz, we have represented thousands of clients throughout Miami and South Florida. Our knowledgeable legal team will help you obtain the largest recovery possible. Get started today.