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Legal Blog

Impaired Boaters Cause Many Accidents in Texas

With more than 7,000 square miles of inland water throughout the state, it is obvious why recreational boating is a favorite activity of Texans. In fact, Texas has more than 580,000 registered boats in the state, according to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. However, the unfortunate reality is that recreational boating accidents result in thousands of injuries and deaths every year. If you have been injured in a Texas boating accident due to someone else’s negligence, contact a Houston personal injury attorney The Krist Law Firm, P.C. at (281) 283-8500 to learn more about your options for compensation of those injuries.

Boating Injuries are Common

In 2014 alone, the U.S. Coast Guard reported that there were over 4,000 boating accidents, which resulted in 610 fatalities and more than 2,500 injuries. Use of alcohol and drugs are common causes for recreational boating accidents. Of the 610 deaths reported in 2014, alcohol was the leading contributing factor in fatal boating accidents. The Coast Guard estimates that a boat operator with a BAC above .10 percent is 10 times more likely to die in a boating accident.

Boating While Intoxicated Laws

Federal regulations prohibit the operation of a vessel while intoxicated and the federal legal limit for intoxication is .08 percent. In most situations, the United States Coast Guard will apply the BAC standard of the state in which the vessel is operating. In Texas, boating while intoxicated is a criminal offense under Penal Code Section 49.06. Boating while intoxicated involves operating a watercraft with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 percent or more. Someone can also be arrested for boating while intoxicated if the individual has alcohol, a controlled substance, or drug in his or her system that results in the loss of normal use of mental or physical faculties. A watercraft may include a boat, water skis, an aquaplane, or any other device used for transporting or carrying a person on water, other than a device propelled only by the current of water.

In an effort to improve boating safety, Texas has begun to crackdown on impaired boaters. Texas participates in the nationwide enforcement campaign known as Operation Dry Water, which resulted in the arrest of more than 300 people in 2010 for boating under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Boat operators who violate this law can be fined up to $2,000 and face up to 180 days in jail. The penalties can be enhanced for subsequent offenses.

Safety Risks of Boating While Intoxicated

The effects of alcohol are considered more dangerous on water than on land. According to the United State Coast Guard, boat operators are likely to become impaired faster due to the marine environment – motion, vibration, engine noise, sun, wind, and spray. Alcohol use while operating a boat leads to a decline in cognitive abilities, coordination, judgment, reaction time, and visual capabilities, all of which make an accident more likely to occur.

The leading cause of death in boating accidents is drowning. Some other common boating injuries include:

How Our Team of Texas Boating Accident Lawyers Can Help You

When you suffer a serious injury in an accident due to the negligence or recklessness of impaired boaters, you are entitled to compensation. If you have been seriously injured in a boating accident, contact the experienced Texas boating accident lawyers at The Krist Law Firm, P.C. to discuss your legal options. The skilled team at The Krist Law Firm, P.C. has a proven track record of success in providing legal assistance to accident victims, and we always fight for the maximum compensation available in every Texas personal injury case.

We will handle all the evidence collection and complex paperwork so you can focus on making a full physical recovery. In the past, we have helped our clients obtain compensation for medical expenses, lost earning capacity, mental anguish, physical pain, physical impairment, disfigurement, and other losses.

Contact The Krist Law Firm, P.C. today at (281) 283-8500 to receive your free, no-obligation consultation .