The Dangers of Drunk Boating

Last September, Winthrop resident Lloyd W. Thompson pleaded not guilty to charges of operating a boat while drunk and negligent homicide. Thompson, an experienced boater and vice commodore of the Winthrop Yacht Club, was allegedly drunk when he crashed a powerboat into a sailboat. One of his passengers, Regina Mosher, sustained a fatal brain injury and died at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. Police said Thompson had glassy eyes, smelled like alcohol and slurred his speech.

According to the U.S. Coast Guard, alcohol remains the leading cause of fatal boating accidents, accounting for approximately 19 percent of recreational boating deaths in 2010. That year, drunk boating caused 330 recreational boating accidents that resulted in 126 deaths and 293 injuries.

Drinking and boating can be a deadly combination. Alcohol causes:

  • Slowed reaction time
  • Dulled concentration
  • Vision, balance and coordination problems

A boater needs to be alert and able to see clearly in order to maintain an awareness of surrounding vessels, water and weather conditions, and important markers. Furthermore, a boat operator relies on balance and coordination to steer the vessel effectively. When drunk, a boater might:

  • Make risky decisions
  • Fail to see other vessels or be unable to react quickly enough to avoid a collision
  • Mistakenly sail into unsafe conditions or areas not intended for boats
  • Become unable to steer

Drunk boating accidents can be prevented by avoiding alcohol while at the helm.

Have you been affected by drunk boating? If you sustained injuries or lost a loved one in an alcohol-related maritime accident, a Boston maritime attorney can help you seek compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Latti & Anderson LLP – Boston maritime trial lawyers