There are a number of factors that can lead to accidents on the water, such as severe weather or shallow waters. Ultimately, however, the cause of boating accidents is usually due to decisions made by the boating operator. Most commonly from operating while intoxicated or reckless operation.
Boating Under the Influence
It should come as no surprise that operating a boat while under the influence of drugs or alcohol can impair a person’s ability to operate safely and make rational decisions. For this reason, it is illegal to pilot a boat while under the influence of drugs or alcohol in the state of Florida.
In the event that the boating operator responsible for causing an accident is suspected of being under the influence, they must submit to a sobriety test. Refusal to do so can result in the suspension or revocation of the guilty party’s boating and driving privileges. Similar to driving a car, an individual is considered to be under the influence if their blood alcohol level is at or above 0.08%.
If an individual is determined to have been boating while under the influence it could result in fines, probation, or even jail time. It should also be noted that boating operators under the age of 21 are considered to be under the influence if they have a blood-alcohol level of 0.02% or greater.
One of the other leading causes of boating accidents in Florida is the reckless or careless operation of a boat. Considered a first-degree misdemeanor, the driver of a boat or other water vehicle can be deemed reckless or careless if they engage in “willful disregard for the safety of persons or property”.
Anyone operating a water vessel has a duty of care to other persons or property while operating under Florida and Federal Navigation Laws. Pursuant to these regulations, any person has an obligation to adhere to posted restrictions and operate in a reasonable and prudent manner with regard to other boats and persons on the water.