Boating Under the Influence

In a recent update of a Missouri boating under the influence case, 36-year-old Justin Harness, of Owensville, Missouri has been arrested for a serious boating accident. The crash, which is believed to have involved alcohol, occurred on the Gasconade River near mile marker 28. According to the authorities, the driver apparently drove off the river at around 6:50 p.m. Saturday by Parson’s Lane in the Mt. Sterling area. The boat eventually drove up onto land and ended up coming to a stop in a tree.

The driver himself suffered only minor injuries, but the male passenger suffered serious injuries, including head injuries. He was taken by Osage County ambulance to University Hospital.

According to the Gasconade county sheriff, he is in stable but critical condition. The first respondents on the scene were the Osage County Sheriff’s Department, the Linn Fire Department, and the Missouri Highway Patrol Water Division.

Authorities are conducting sobriety tests on the boat’s driver at the scene.

Boating Under the Influence (BUI) is just as deadly as Drinking and Driving

Quick facts about Boating Under the Influence:

  • A boat operator is more likely to become impaired more quickly than a driver.
  • The penalties for BUI can include big fines, serious jail terms, and revocation of operator privileges.
  • Almost one third of all recreational boating fatalities are caused by the use of alcoho or drugs.

Every boater needs an understanding of the risks of boating under the influence of either alcohol or drugs. Boaters should understand the risks involved in driving their vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs. As with driving any vehicle, it is illegal operate a boat while under the influence of alcohol or drugs in every state. Coast guards also enforce federal laws that prohibit BUI. This law is applied to all types of boats.
The Dangers of BUI

We all know that alcohol affects judgment, vision, balance and coordination. These impairments increase the likelihood of accidents afloat for both drivers and passengers. Unfortunately, alcohol is even more hazardous on water than on land. The environment, including sun, motion and vibration accelerate a drinker’s impairment. This causes fatique that makes a boat operater’s reaction time decline faster when under the influence of alcohol.

Alcohol can similarly be dangerous to boaters because boat operators are oftentimes less experienced and can be a lot less confident with driving on the water than on the roadways. Shockingly, recreational boaters only average a full hours of boating time each year.

Effects of Alcohol Impairment While Boating

There are numerous physical effects, stemming from alcohol, that directly threaten the safety and well-being of boaters and passengers.

When a boat’s driver or passenger drinks, the following happens:

  • As certain cognitive abilities deteriorate, information is harder to process, and decision making becomes tricky.
  • Lack of balance, coordination, and reaction time occurs.
  • Vision is affected via altered depth perception and inability to process certain colors.
  • Inner ear disturbances make it impossible for an individual who has fallen into the water to judge up from down.
  • Alcohol creates a false sense of warmth, which could lead to hypothermia to an individual who has fallen in cold water.

Missouri Boating Under the Influence Lawyer

Ultimately, a boat operator with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) higher than .10% is around 10 times more likely to die in a boating crash, than an operator with a zero percent BAC.  If you or a loved one has been injured or even killed in a boating crash that involved the negligence of the driver, you may be entitled to compensation for your harms and losses. Drinking while operating any type of vehicle is illegal, and an individual affected as a passenger to this type of accident should contact a drunk driving crash lawyer or a boating under the influence lawyer to discuss his or her rights. Call us today at 314.409.7060 for a free, no obligation consultation.

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