Boating Accident Prevention Gets Boost from Alcohol-Limit Change


If you drive with a blood alcohol level of .08 or higher, you not only put people at risk of being involved in a serious drunk driving accident, you risk arrest. While the threshold for criminal drunken boating was once .10, it has recently been tightened to mirror the legal limit at which motorists are presumed to be driving while impaired. This change is part of an effort to keep people safe while boating this summer.

According to the Department of Natural Resources, the blood alcohol limit for boating was lowered to .08 to equalize the limits between drivers and boaters. Why? The reason is that a boating accident poses the same danger for serious injury and death as a car accident.

“Alcohol, mixed with boating activities, can create dangerous conditions that can lead not only to an arrest, but also to tragedy so we want to emphasize responsibility and safety, especially during the increased traffic expected on holiday weekends,” says Lt. Col. Jeff Weaver of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.

When you are on the water this summer, you will no doubt see people drinking while boating—it happens. Perhaps you’ll even have a beer or two. But if someone is drunk and navigating a vessel in the water, their “good time” just changed into a risky one.

It is not illegal to have an open container of alcohol in a boat. Likewise, it is not illegal for someone operating a boat to drink. But if a person operating a boat has a blood alcohol content of .08 or higher, they are presumed to be less safe and may be charged with boating under the influence.

Boating accidents happen for a variety of reasons. There are no “lanes” in the water, and no turn signals or traffic lights. Two boats headed for impact have a difficult time reacting on short notice and can easily crash and cause multiple injuries. When someone is injured in a boating accident, the person at fault can be held responsible.

“Operating a boat is as complicated as driving a car, and a boating incident is as dangerous as an automobile accident,” says Ron Fennel of TEAM Georgia. “However, many people who would never drive a car intoxicated think it is okay to operate their boat after drinking. Operating a boat while intoxicated is illegal and hazardous to themselves and others on the water.”

Atlanta-Area Accident Lawyers

Whether you are involved in a boating accident, a car accident, or another accident where you weren’t to blame, you could be entitled to compensation for your injuries. The Atlanta personal injury lawyers of Millar & Mixon LLC may be able to help. Call 404-994-6439 now for a free consultation on your case or use our online contact form.