Last year, 15 people died in Missouri boating accidents. And so far this year in the Show Me State – before the recreational boating season has begun in earnest – two people have lost their lives in boating accidents.
Recreational boating is a popular activity in Missouri. This is not surprising given the abundance of recreational waterways in the state, including Mark Twain Lake, Bull Shoals Lake and the Lake of the Ozarks. But busy waterways can be dangerous waterways when boat operators act irresponsibly.
Missouri Highway Patrol to Observe National Safe Boating Week
The upcoming Memorial Day holiday weekend annually kicks off the boating season on Missouri’s waterways. Given all of this, it’s important to note that May 20 marks the start of National Safe Boating Week in Missouri and the rest of the country.
As part of this boating event, the Missouri State Highway Patrol will conduct free boat inspections at marinas and boat ramps throughout the state. The inspections can uncover problems with watercraft that, if not fixed, may pose problems for owners and passengers alike. However, the inspections won’t stop a major factor that leads to fatal boating accidents – drinking and boating.
Missouri BWI Law: .08 Blood Alcohol Content
Current Missouri law prohibits operating a boat with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 percent or higher. Those found at this level can be prosecuted for BWI – boating while intoxicated. The drunk boating threshold was lowered from .10 percent in 2008. It’s now at the same blood alcohol concentration level for drunk driving of motor vehicles. But when you throw in outside factors particular to boating, such as waves and wind, the harmful effects of alcohol on boat operators can be amplified.
July 4th is always another popular boating holiday. An annual event conducted around that time called Operation Dry Water targets BWI arrests. Last year, working with the U.S. Coast Guard and local police enforcement, the three-day event reported nearly 400 BWI arrests nationally.
In addition to boating inspections and BWI awareness efforts, the Missouri Highway Patrol is using the upcoming National Boat Safety Week to instill the importance of wearing life jackets. You just never know when you’ll be a victim of a boater under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
But there is legal recourse to obtain justice. Victims of serious boating accidents can consult an experienced personal injury attorney to pursue just compensation from those who caused them.
The choice of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely on advertising.
Authored by Gray, Ritter & Graham, P.C., posted in Blog May 18, 2017