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Boating Under the Influence

According to the U.S. Coast Guard, alcohol is the leading contributing factor in fatal boating accidents, cited in 21 percent of all reported cases. Our experienced Dallas injury lawyer has helped many clients and their families recover damages following a boating accident.

If you have suffered a substantial injury or lost a loved one in a boating accident, contact the Turley Law Firm today by calling (214) 691-4025 or by completing the form on this page. We serve clients throughout Texas who have been involved in boating accidents on popular waterways such as Lake Texoma, Cedar Creek Lake and many others.

Texas BUI Law

From the dock to the water, the consumption of alcoholic beverages accompanies many boating activities, and some people mistakenly believe there is a blurred line when it comes to operating a boat while under the influence. However, Texas law is clear: It is unlawful to operate a watercraft while intoxicated. Under the Texas Penal Code, a watercraft is defined as:

  • A vessel
  • An aquaplane
  • One or more water skis
  • Another device used for transporting or carrying a person on water, other than a device propelled only by the current of water.

Similar to road laws, a person is not permitted to operate a watercraft with a blood alcohol content level of 0.08 or higher. It is also a violation of Texas law for minors under the age of 21 to operate boat with any trace of alcohol or drugs in their systems.

Dangers of BUI

Alcohol causes people to become distracted, lose coordination, and suffer from impaired vision. Alcohol also interferes with an individual’s equilibrium, slowing reaction times considerably. Any of these alcohol-induced impairments can be very dangerous for boat operators and result in the wrongful death or serious injury of those around them. Drinking and boating can also hinder a boat operator’s:

  • Judgment
  • Cognitive abilities
  • Peripheral vision
  • Nigh Vision
  • Ability to swim

A syndrome known as "inattentional blindness", also known as “perceptual blindness”, is another cause of serious accidents on both the water and the road. Inattentional blindness is described as a psychological lack of attention, not associated with any visual defects or deficits. It is a phenomenon where people fail to recognize events or obstacles that are in plain sight. Alcohol consumption only exacerbates this problem.

BUI Injuries

In the absence of lanes, lights, and signage, BUI injuries can sometimes be worse than DUI injuries. Common injuries sustained in boating accidents include:

  • Drowning
  • Disfigurement
  • Head injuries
  • Back and neck injuries
  • Injuries requiring amputations
  • Permanent disability
  • Hypothermia- if thrown from the water craft
  • Lacerations

When you sustain an injury due to another’s negligence, you can incur physical pain, medical expenses, and a loss of wages. These combined challenges often lead to feelings of anxiousness and depression, impacting every level of your personal and professional relationships. If you can prove that someone else’s breach of care caused these damages, you could be eligible for compensation.

If you were injured in Grapevine Lake, Lewisville Lake, Lake Ray Hubbard or another North Texas waterway, our Dallas injury lawyer can help you pursue the compensation you deserve. Please contact the Turley Law Firm today online or at (214) 691-4025 to schedule your free consultation.

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