As Independence Day quickly approaches, many people in Minnesota love to celebrate with a fun day on the water. Often times that celebration includes the consumption of alcoholic beverages as well. Unfortunately, many boaters fail to appreciate the dangers of drinking while boating, which could suddenly turn a celebration into a tragedy.
That is the message from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, which has vowed to crack down on boating under the influence. Last year, 50 percent of all deaths involving boats in Minnesota had alcohol as a contributing factor.
Just like car drivers, people who operate boats must have a blood alcohol level below .08. Any boater who is caught with a higher blood alcohol level could be subjected to a variety of punishments, including fines and jail time.
Although many people are aware of the dangers of driving under the influence of alcohol, the same cannot be said for drinking while boating. Indeed, many people have the mistaken notion that drinking on the water is acceptable, but boating under the influence can actually be more dangerous than drunk driving.
The United States Coast Guard notes that the unique features of boating can quicken the effects of alcohol. In particular, the motion of the waves, the vibrations of the boat and the exposure to the elements can all contribute to reduced reaction times. When combined with the fact that most boaters lack significant experience on the water, alcohol’s deleterious effects become readily apparent.
Minnesotans are particularly at risk of becoming the victim of an inebriated boater because water-based recreational activities are very popular in the state. If you have become such a victim, it is important to contact a law firm that can protect your rights.
With more than 40 years of experience helping victims of boating accidents, the Minnesota personal injury law firm of Schwebel, Goetz & Sieben can ensure that you receive fair compensation. To learn more about our services and receive a free consultation, call us at 612-377-7777 or 1-800-752-4265 (toll free).