Anyone who owns or rents a boat knows how much fun it can be out on the water in Florida. The adventure is immeasurable for most, but boating can be very dangerous, especially if you mix it with alcohol. Some people seem to forget that alcohol can impair your judgment even when operating a boat and that you don’t get dispensation since you are not on land. Today, let’s look at the laws surrounding boating and alcohol use.
It is against federal law to operate a boat while drinking alcohol. In Florida, there are laws on the books that say if you are going to operate a boat in Florida waters, then you give consent to be tested for alcohol use if this request is made by a police officer. Refusing to admit to such a test could lead to even more serious penalties.
Someone who is caught operating a boat under the influence of alcohol could be subjected to the following:
- Time in jail
- Fines that could amount to thousands of dollars
- The loss or suspension of their boating license
- Loss of their vehicle driver’s license
- Enrollment in an alcohol abuse class
- Criminal charges if an accident occurred
- The boat could be seized, impounded and even sold at auction
Alcohol can quickly turn your fun day on the water in Florida to a tragic one. Accidents involving boats and alcohol use happen quite often every year. Make sure you don’t become a statistic. Avoid the use of alcohol each time you head out on the water in your boat.
If you need assistance with a boating accident injury case, call the Law Offices of John W. Merting. With over 40 years of experience in maritime cases, we can help.