Jones Act Attorneys Encourage Boaters to Have Safe, Sober Memorial Day

We concluded our posts relating to the National Safe Boating Council’s 2013 National Safe Boating Week last week by discussing the role that alcohol plays in many fatal boating accidents. With today being Memorial Day, the federal holiday also marks an occasion when several people across the country take to the water for the first time. Alcoholic beverages are sure to be part of celebrations, and we again encourage all boaters to make sure that they designate a sober individual to operate their recreational vessel. In addition to reducing the risk of injuries and deaths, boaters can also avoid substantial fines and penalties. As USA Today reported on May 18, more states are cracking down on boating under the influence.

“Years ago, if you were intoxicated and you were boating, we’d probably tell you to go home,” John Fetterman, director of law enforcement for the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators and a Maine Marine Patrol officer for more than three decades, told USA Today. “Today, if you’re boating and you’re over 0.08 (blood-alcohol content), you’re going to jail.”

While alcohol is a common problem in accidents involving recreational vessels, one recent incident demonstrates that it can also play an occasional role in commercial boating accidents as well. A US Coast Guard official told the Associated Press that the operator of a Detroit drawbridge was drunk when she lowered the bridge onto the top of the 690-foot HERBERT C. JACKSON on May 12. The county employee was arrested after failing a breathalyzer test and was later fired, but fortunately, nobody was injured in the accident.

If a seaman sustains injuries because of a fellow employee’s negligence or an incompetent crew, that worker may be entitled to compensation under the Jones Act. Latti & Anderson LLP represents individuals who have sustained injuries on recreational and commercial vessels, and you can learn more about how our firm helps maritime injury victims and their families by visiting our website. If you sustained catastrophic injuries or your loved one was killed in a drunk boating accident, contact our firm at (800) 392-6072 to set up a free consultation or fill out the form on this page to let our Jones Act attorneys review your case.

Latti & Anderson LLP – Jones Act lawyers