Nield Law Group, APC
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The role alcohol plays in fatal boating accidents

According to a report from The Legal Examiner, alcohol plays a role in 49 percent of all fatal boating accidents in California. The California State Parks Division of Boating and Waterways reports that there were 531 incidents in 2013 that caused 38 fatalities. While deaths on the water seem to be declining, it is important to note that many are preventable.

The United States Coast Guard states that more than half of all boating accidents involve alcohol, such as a drunk driver. The effects of alcohol, the Coast Guard explains, are often exacerbated while on water. The wind, sun exposure and motion of the boat can cause someone to feel and behave more inebriated than they may be. Further, the Coast Guard states that boat operators who have blood alcohol concentration of 0.10 or higher are actually 10 times more likely to be involved in a fatal boating accident.

The recommendation is that anyone driving a boat should refrain from consuming alcohol. Not only will alcohol affect the operator's driving skills, but it can also affect his or her logic. For example, by law, every boat should have enough life jackets on board so each passenger has one. Further, children who are 6 or younger should have a vest on at all times.

While enjoying time on the water is a great way to unwind, it is certainly not without risk. It is a well-documented fact that alcohol makes people more relaxed. A boat operator should always be sober in order to ensure passengers are exercising the proper safety precautions. Drivers who do otherwise are endangering themselves, their guests and others on the water.

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