We Represent Boating Accident Injury Victims
It’s boating season in the Pacific Northwest; between the ocean and our many lakes there are many boating options. While a day out on the water usually ends well, thousands of people are injured and hundreds are killed each year in a boating accident. Boating accidents happen in all kinds of boats ranging from ski boats, to fishing boats, privately owned yachts, etc.
If you or a loved one was injured in a boating accident because of the negligent behavior of the skipper of the boat you are in or another boat operator, contact a boating accident lawyer to discuss your legal rights as soon as you are able.
Main causes of boating accidents
Most of the time boating accidents are caused by operator error and are preventable. The main causes are:
· Operator inexperience
· Boating while distracted
· Boating under the influence
o According to the U.S. Coast Guard, boaters with blood alcohol levels above .10 are 10 times more likely to be involved in a fatal boating accident than a boat operator who has not been drinking.
o Alcohol consumption was a main factor in 21 percent of boating accident deaths nationwide compared to 17 percent in Washington State in 2014.
· Fatal boating accidents most often involve capsizing, collisions with other boats and falls overboard – mostly by passengers.
Washington State laws against boating under the influence
Washington State boaters may be penalized if they are caught operating a boat under the influence (BUI). The legal limit for operating a boat under the influence of alcohol is 0.08 and the legal limit for operating a boat under the influence of marijuana is 5.0 nanograms. The law is applicable to boat operators of all types including non-motorized boats such as canoes and kayaks.
Officers with probable cause may ask a boat operator to take a breathalyzer test. If the boater refuses he or she may be fined and issued a Class 1 civil infraction. Boaters who take the test and are found to be over the legal limit may be charged with a gross misdemeanor punishable up to a $5,000 fine and a year in jail.
Prevent a boating accident with these boating safety tips
While most people are aware of state and local government efforts to reduce drinking and driving, many might not know that there has been a push to reduce boating accidents as well. Governments recognize that operating a boat while impaired is a personal injury and property damage risk.
Boating safety tips when alcohol is on board:
· Designate a sober, responsible and qualified skipper who can also drive the boat away on a trailer if necessary.
· Bring a cooler with plenty of water and snacks/food.
· Anyone drinking should be wearing a properly fitted life jacket at all times.
· Take the pledge to designate a skipper or be the sober skipper.
If you or a loved one is suffering from an injury as a result of an accident or error caused by the negligence of another, you have enough on your plate. Let an experienced accident attorney fight for the full compensation that you deserve. It is not uncommon to receive a settlement from the insurance company that is five to ten times larger with the help of a lawyer. Call the personal injury lawyers at Tario & Associates, P.S. in Bellingham, WA today for a FREE consultation! We have been representing residents of Whatcom County, Skagit County, Island County and Snohomish County since 1979. You will pay nothing up front and no attorney fees at all unless we recover damages for you!