Even more boats are on the water during the summer season—especially during the Fourth of July holiday. The increase in the number of boats on the water causes an increase in the number of watercraft accidents.
Examples of watercraft accidents include property damage and personal injury. If there has been drug or alcohol use by either of the drivers, one or both will be held responsible. Additionally, if one driver was being reckless or otherwise putting people in danger, they are liable.
All operators are responsible for operating their vessel with regard to safety laws. If you operate a watercraft with disregard for the safety of others, you may be cited for reckless operation and receive a first-degree misdemeanor charge.
Reckless operation of a vessel in Florida include the following.
- Riding too close to another watercraft
- Jumping the wake of another vessel
- Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
If you are driving a watercraft and have a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of .08 or higher you are breaking the law. If an accident happens while you are driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you will be held responsible. Remember that boating under the influence is a serious offense and may lead to fines or jail time.
How to avoid an accident
You should know the laws, rules and regulations in the area for which you are boating. In order to minimize your risk, consider doing the following.
- Wear a lifejacket
- Have a sober designated driver
- Be alert and aware of watercrafts around you
- Check safety equipment before you depart
If you see someone driving recklessly, you should call the local DNR. Reporting a reckless driver can help keep you and others out of danger.