A Passenger’s Responsibility in a BUI Boating Accident

A passenger in a Boating Under the Influence (BUI) accident may have some responsibility if he or she is the owner of the boat. It is unlawful to allow a person under the influence of alcohol or drugs to operate your boat or personal watercraft. Passengers also have a moral responsibility to help ensure the skipper observes the law and provides a fun experience for everyone involved. 

Georgia Boating Law

If the skipper of a boat is under the age of 21, he or she cannot operate, steer, drive, or be in physical control of the vehicle with a blood alcohol level of 0.02 or above. For older operators, blood alcohol that would merit a BUI charge is 0.08 or above. There are penalties associated with BUI which may include losing the right to operate a boat or personal watercraft (PWC). In order to regain privileges, the operator will usually need to complete a DUI Alcohol or Drug Use Risk Reduction Program. 

BUI is a misdemeanour, which can result in fines of up to $1,000 and may include prison time of up to one year. Law enforcement officials have the right to test for alcohol or drugs on Georgia waters. A refusal to submit to testing can be used in evidence against the operator if a trial results. If there is a child passenger under the age of 14 on the boat, an additional charge of endangering a child may result. 

After a BUI Boating Accident

As the passenger in a BUI boating accident, it is not technically your responsibility to report the accident. That responsibility falls to the operator or owner of the vessel, under Georgia law. In many instances, operators do not report accidents if no other vessels were involved. If this is the case, you can report the accident to local authorities, so it is on record. This is especially important if you were injured in a BUI boating accident and wish to seek compensation. 

If injuries have resulted from a BUI boating accident, it must be reported within 48 hours. Accidents that involve property damage only should be reported within 10 days of the incident. You do have a legal responsibility to report any accident where injuries or death occurred.

Consult With a Personal Injury Lawyer

Personal injury lawsuits involving a BUI boating accident can become complicated, depending on the nature of the accident and upon which stretch of water it occurred. An experienced personal injury lawyer can help you better understand your responsibilities and provide legal representation if you suffered injuries as the result of a negligent boating operator’s actions.

H. Lehman Franklin, P.C., offers a free initial consultation to those who have been injured in a BUI boating accident. We are here to help you navigate any hurdles you may face in securing fair compensation for your injuries or damages. Call the firm of H. Lehman Franklin, P.C., if you were a passenger in a BUI boating accident on Georgia waters. You can reach our offices at 912-764-9616 or via email at hlfranklin@hlfranklin.com