People move and vacation to the Tampa Bay area for two reasons — to be surrounded by the water and warm weather. Year round, people spend their weekend afternoons out on the water, either on boats or personal watercrafts to relieve some stress from the work week. Often, boaters will gather at certain shallow meeting spots and anchor their boat to party with other boaters. This is especially common in the summer months, and unfortunately alcohol is almost always involved.
In Florida, operating a boat after consuming alcohol is not illegal. Just like the law involving alcohol and motor vehicles, the blood alcohol content of a boater must be .08 percent or higher to be charged with a BUI. Law enforcement can also make a judgment call if they believe the operator’s normal faculties are impaired. This is because the operation of a boat is much more difficult and requires more focus than that of a motor vehicle. If a boat operator has been consuming alcohol, distractions such as other boaters, weather conditions, and sea sickness can affect the boater much more than if they stayed sober. Combine this with the inexperience of most boat operators, and you get the boating statistics that land Florida at the top of the list for most boating deaths per year.
One third of these deaths involve alcohol, and Florida also has the second highest rate of alcohol related boating incidents in the country according the DOT. Last September, a boating accident near the mouth of the Pithlachascotee River is an unfortunate example of what can happen after one operates a boat after consuming alcohol. At around midnight, after drinking to celebrate the Labor Day weekend, Jeffrey Griffin ran his boat into a marker, launching his brother, Joshua Griffin from the boat. The evacuation killed Joshua Griffin. Three hours after the accident a blood test was administered to Jeffrey Griffin, where he still was able to register .093 BAC. Jeffery Griffin was charged with manslaughter.
These types of incidents are all too common in the Tampa Bay area. If you or a loved one has been a victim of a traumatic brain injury, disfigurement, limb amputations, drowning, or any other type of injury caused by someone operating a boat under the influence, contact our Clearwater personal injury and civil trial law firm Dolman Law Group today. Victims that are injured may be entitled to past and future medical bills, lost wages, in addition to the pain and suffering from the accident.
After a boating accident, make sure to seek medical help right away. Not only will this ensure you are treated for any injuries you sustained during the accident, but also create an official record of your injuries. This will helpful down the road in establishing liability if your claim is contested.
At Dolman Law Group, an attorney experienced in handling boating accident cases will take a look at your case and determine if you have a claim.
Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765