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Boating Accidents 1.17.2022

Michigan Boating Accident Statistics and More. What You Need to Know

Oakland County Michigan may be one of the most affluent counties in Michigan that The Joseph Dedvukaj personal injury law firm serves However, as pointed out by Metromode there is a serious debate about whether Oakland County has 358 lakes or as many as 1468 lakes. Regardless of the number of lakes Oakland County Michigan has, it certainly has some motorboat accidents.

Boating Alcohol Dangers and Risks

Michigan law prohibits (Michigan complied laws annotated 324.80176) operating a motorboat while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Michigan has two general classifications of boating under the influence alcohol or drugs:

  • Boating under the influence (BUI). A person can be convicted of a BUI for operating a motorboat with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or greater, with any amount of a controlled in the blood, or while impaired by drugs and/or alcohol to an extent that the person is "substantially deprived of normal control or clarity of mind."
  • Boating while visibly impaired (BWVI). A person can be convicted of a BWVI for operating a motorboat while "visibly impaired" by drugs and/or alcohol.

The potential penalties an offender faces depend on which classification he or she is convicted of.

BUIs Involving Injuries or Death

An offender who causes "serious impairment of a body function of another person" while operating a motorboat under the influence is guilty of a felony and faces a prison sentence of up to five years and/or fines ranging from $1,000 to $10,000.

Where a boater causes the death of another person while operating a motorboat under the influence, the offense is a felony and carries up to 15 years in prison and/or fines from $2,500 to $10,000.
For boaters convicted of a BUI involving serious impairment or death, the law requires an indefinite suspension of the person's privilege to operate a motorboat.

Michigan has enacted laws regarding driving a motorboat while intoxicated, Michigan also penalizes Boating Under the Influence (BUI). Unfortunately, the nature of water-based activities can make it difficult to enforce the laws, so marine accidents involving alcohol are still a common problem. According to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR), drunk or drugged boat operation plays a role in around 23% of boating fatalities. With the Memorial Day and Fourth of July 2022 coming fast and Michigan’s water-based fun being part of the celebrations, you can be sure that the risk of BUI accidents will be high.

Victims do have legal options after being injured in a boating accident caused by impairment or any other form of negligence. A Michigan boat accident lawyer can review your circumstances and explain the laws, since you may qualify for compensation. However, our personal injury boat accident law firm believe it’s wise to review some additional data to protect yourself and your family over the 2022 Memorial Day and Fourth of July weekends.

Statistics on BUI and Boating Accidents

Probably the biggest threat to your safety in a boat collision is the fact that can fall in the water and drown. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources confirms the following watercraft boating accident data:

  • Alcohol use is the leading known contributing factor in fatal boating accidents. Where the primary cause was known, it was listed as the leading factor in 23% of deaths.
  • Alcohol consumption may impair a boater's judgment, balance, vision, and reaction time. Alcohol is also known to increase fatigue.
  • Collisions with another boat is the number one type of boat accident.
  • 20 drownings in 2020
  • The most common injuries for victims of boating accidents are lacerations, broken bones, and contusions.
  • Almost 21% of all victims who were killed in boating accidents were not wearing a personal flotation device (PFD).
  • Drowning is the cause of death in 79% of all boating-related fatalities in Michigan.
  • 181 reported 81 Michigan boating accidents reported in 2020.

How Alcohol Impacts Boat Safety

Succinctly, the effects of alcohol impair a person’s ability to safely operate a boat in the same way as it impacts the driver of a car. Even small amounts of alcohol can result in cognitive impairment for good judgment, behavior, perception, and reaction time. The physical consequences can also be severe, including impairing coordination and blurry vision.

Boat operating conditions on the water generally require clear visibility and good decision-making. Additionally, unlike a land motor vehicle, a  boat operator must be in good physical condition to control the boat. When a personal watercraft operator is impaired, even an experienced boater may be unable to maintain balance and steer the watercraft safely. Occupants of the vessel are in danger risk, but so are other boaters, swimmers, and water users of the lakes.

Trust a Michigan Boating and Marine Accidents Attorney to Protect Your Rights

The threat of BUI is concerning with the 2022 Memorial Day and Fourth of July celebrations coming up later this year, but it is encouraging to know that you have legal remedies if you are injured in a boating accident. Our boat accident team at The Joseph Dedvukaj Firm, P.C., located in Oakland County MI can assist with pursuing your legal rights, so please feel free to contact our firm at 855-HIRE-JOE to schedule a free consultation at our offices in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.

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The Joseph Dedvukaj Firm, P.C represents Michigan clients in a full range of personal injury matters. If you have been injured, contact us for a free consultation.
The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute a client relationship.
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