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The Dangers of Boating Under the Influence (BUI)

Boating is a favorite summertime activity that many people like to enjoy.  Although boating is an enjoyable recreational pastime, it may be surprising to know that alcohol is linked to more than 30% of all boating-related fatalities.   A boat operator with a blood alcohol concentration above .10% is ten times more likely to suffer a fatal boating accident than a sober operator.

Moreover, a boater is at greater risk of getting into an accident as a result of impaired operation than an impaired auto driver.  According to the Boating Safety Resource Center, a boat operator becomes impaired at a greater rate than a driver of a motor vehicle who has had consumed the same amount of alcohol.

Although there are different guidelines and laws that apply to drinking and boating versus drinking and driving, it is illegal in all 50 states to operate a boat under the influence of drugs or alcohol.  Boating under the influence (BUI) is prohibited by federal law enforced by the Coast Guard.

Hazards of BUI

Alcohol affects a person’s visual, cognitive and judgment abilities.  These skills are especially important when navigating on the open water.  A person’s physical coordination is also affected by alcohol which is especially dangerous while boating because this increases a person’s chance of an overboard accident.  Moreover, alcohol creates a false sense of physical warmth which may prevent a person in cold water from recognizing symptoms of hypothermia.

Safety Tips to Boat Responsibly and Avoid BUI Charges in NJ

Violating federal or state BUI laws can have long-term and devastating effects.  The following safety tips are helpful to avoid a boating accident and avoid the possibility of a BUI:

  • Although used for recreation, it is important to remember that a boat is a vehicle that carries with it a great responsibility.
  • Consider a “no-alcohol” policy while boating.  This ensures safety for everyone, as even impaired passengers are at an increased risk of injury or accident while boating.
  • Pack other cool drinks and snacks that do not include alcohol to make your boating experience enjoyable and keep everyone cool.
  • If you make a stop during the boating trip to enjoy alcoholic beverages, drink responsibly.  Wait at least one hour per drink before resuming your boating trip to ensure no one becomes impaired.

Penalties for BUI in New Jersey

Each state, in addition to the Coast Guard, oversees the penalties for perpetrators of BUI laws.   There are serious consequences for boating and drinking.  These include large monetary fines, losing a boating operator license, being detained by law enforcement and even imprisonment.

New Jersey Criminal Lawyer Defends Individuals Charged with Boating Under the Influence BUI

New Jersey criminal attorney, Michele Finizio, Esq., aggressively defends those charged with BUI.  Ms. Finizio can answer your questions and provide you with an appropriate defense.  If you have been involved in a boating accident in New Jersey or have been issued a BUI, trust Ms. Finizio to handle your case with experience and care.  Call her New Jersey law offices at 609-230-0374 or contact her online.

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I could not have asked for a better attorney. Michele Finizio treated my cases and the cases of those I've recommended, as if we were part of her family.

-D.A.