If you are a boat owner, spring in Ohio is a great time to get out on all the rivers and lakes. Whether you like to fish, ski or just enjoy getting out on the water for a little relaxation, after months of being pent up inside, you’re ready to go for a spin.
One problem that many boaters don’t consider is the number of intoxicated boaters out there that can be sharing the waterways with you. For many boaters, an ice chest full of beer and other adult beverages is just another part of the outing. But that attitude can create big problems while boating.
Law enforcement takes drunken boating very seriously
Statute ORC 1547.11 declares that “No person shall operate or be in physical control of any vessel underway, or manipulate any water skis or similar device if the person is under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.”
Just as when driving a car, those with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08% or higher who are operating a vessel on the water are subject to arrest. In fact, if the one behind the wheel of the boat is otherwise impaired by a drug and whose BAC is less than .08%, they can still be arrested.
What if the captain of your boat is intoxicated and you crash?
Just as one should never ride in a car with a drunk driver, neither should you ride in a boat with an impaired person at the controls. If the captain crashes into another boat, a dock, the shoreline or an underwater obstacle, you and others aboard could suffer serious injuries or even death.
If you’re injured by a drunken boater, you may need to take legal steps to hold the negligent party liable for the damages and losses that you suffer out on the water. An attorney can help advocate for your rights against the insurance company or companies involved.