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Why Florida Boating Accidents Caused by Alcohol are Still so Hard to Prevent

The message about Florida drunk driving accidents has been out for a long time. However, boating under the influence is still a major concern in the state. Experts estimate that one in four fatal boating accidents are caused by intoxication or drug use, and Florida has more boating accidents than any other state in the United States. According to experts, there are many reasons why boating accidents caused by BUI (boating under the influence) are so hard to prevent:

1) Less awareness. Since the 1980s, many organizations have worked to create awareness about DUI. The dangers of drinking and driving are stressed in media campaigns and in driving instruction. Young drivers are encouraged to sign pledges not to drink and drive. According to experts, there is less awareness about the dangers of BUI and less social pressure to avoid BUI.

2) Conditions on the water can aggravate the effects of alcohol. The sun, wind, and vibration of the boat can make the effects of alcohol more pronounced. These factors can also distract a boater even more and can even make it harder for a boater to notice intoxication, according to some experts.

3) According to the Coast Guard, intoxication can create an inner ear imbalance which can make it hard for someone to tell the difference between up and down. This ear disturbance can make someone feel more intoxicated than they really are and can create a drowning hazard if someone intoxicated is thrown into the water. Someone who is intoxicated can easily become disoriented in the water, and have a hard time swimming to safety.

4) Most boaters are more confident and familiar with cars than boats. Even experienced boaters spend more time in cars than in boats, and most boaters spend a fraction of the time in water than they do in a car.

5) Boating conditions can lead to dehydration, which can exacerbate the effects of alcohol. According to the Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, drinking alcohol can lead to dehydration, and dehydration can make the effects of alcohol more pronounced. Boating usually involves hot, sunny days, which can easily lead to dehydration.

Even with all of these factors making BUI more likely, there is much that can be done. State, local, and federal authorities have been working to patrol Florida waterways more closely. In 2010, 323 BUI citations were written in Florida as a result of these efforts. As well, authorities and media outlets are making a larger effort to warn boaters about the dangers of boating under the influence. Hopefully, these efforts will help prevent Florida boating accidents this year and in the years to come.


If you have been in a Florida boating accident, contact the Flaxman Law Group in Hollywood, Miami, or Homestead. Our compassionate legal team has decades of experience, having aggressively and successfully pursued thousands of personal injury cases across South Florida. Contact the Flaxman Law Group today to arrange for a free consultation to discuss your case. Learn your options and rights so that you can make an informed decision in your case.