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Were you injured because the boat operator was drinking?

Unfortunately, boat outings on lakes throughout Michigan too often turn into chaos and injury when boat owners and passengers treat alcohol as part of the fun. 

Effects of drinking while boating

The marine environment has a lot to do with accelerating the effects of alcohol consumption. Everything from judgment and vision to balance and coordination will be affected by alcohol use. The motion of the water along with engine vibration, sun, wind and spray will cause fatigue, and as a result, impairment will occur more quickly than it would on land.

From the USCG point of view

It is illegal in every state for anyone to operate a boat while he or she is under the influence of either alcohol or drugs. Still, alcohol is related to almost a third of all boating fatalities. The United States Coast Guard is the enforcer of federal law that prohibits boating under the influence, or BUI. It is a law that applies to operating boats of all kinds and sizes, from rowboats and canoes to large ships.

What to expect

Recreational boaters are generally less experienced in operating a boat than they are in driving a vehicle, simply because they have less practice on the water. When you add drinking to what should be a pleasant, uneventful boating experience, you have the formula for possible disaster. As a passenger, you can only try to discourage drinking on board—but you are not the captain of the boat whose cognitive abilities and physical performance are likely to become impaired due to alcohol consumption. An attorney experienced with helping people who are injured in boating accidents will tell you that they deserve to be compensated for their injuries, just as they would if an alcohol-related accident happens on land. If you become a victim of a boating accident, your only focus should be on getting well again so you can look forward to another day on the lake, this time, without incident.

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