As we reported in our blog earlier this month, alcohol use is a factor in almost a third of all recreational boating fatalities in our country.
Sadly, an investigation by the Boston Herald indicates that state officials may not be targeting drunken boaters enough. According to the news outlet, Massachusetts Environmental Police have made only 39 arrests for drunken boating or operating under the influence (OUI) statewide since 2012. This news comes after a Boston-area attorney was arrested following an alleged OUI accident that resulted in a young woman losing her arm.
The newspaper reported that the agency would not comment on staffing, but said that it has one large police boat and three smaller vessels that it uses to patrol the Boston Harbor and surrounding coastal areas. Meanwhile, Boston police, who have six patrol and rescue boats, have only made one OUI arrest in the last three years.
The newspaper reported that since 2009, drunk boating has caused nine deaths and injuries to 30 people in Massachusetts.
A representative with the state chapter for Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) indicated concerned about the numbers. “I don’t think enough people understand how dangerous [drunk boating] can be,” said David DeIuliis, according to the Herald. “They think they can go out on the water, drink until they can’t stand and then somehow think they’re competent enough to drive a boat.”
Although there is debate over staffing, there is a group effort with environmental police and the U.S. Coast Guard planned from June 26 to 28 for Operation Dry Water, in which officials will look to crack down on drunken boaters through checkpoints.
Working With an Attorney Following a Drunk Boating Accident
Again, drunk boating accidents are completely avoidable. If your loved one is killed or an intoxicated boater injures you, speak to our maritime attorneys about your legal rights. Aside from facing criminal charges, those accused of OUI can be held civilly liable.
As the summer kicks off and the Fourth of July weekend takes place soon, avoid this dangerous habit!
Latti & Anderson LLP – Nationwide Maritime Attorneys