As it heats up outside many locals from Monmouth and Ocean Counties jump aboard their boats, sailboats, fishing boats, speedboats, catamarans, row boats, kayaks and canoes to have fun in the sun. But beware, after several hours of boating its effects on the body, such as fatigue, wave motion and heat exhaustion, which can make even the most prudent boater physically compromised or downright impaired. When these effects are combined with alcohol, it raises the likelihood that something will go wrong. When something goes wrong on water, it often goes quite wrong. The health effects mentioned have actually been proven to increase the effects of alcohol on the body with respect to sensory impairment. With the number of related accidents and fatalities, perhaps a Boating While Intoxicated or Boating Under the Influence public service campaign should be launched.
Nationwide each year, hundreds of boating deaths and injuries are caused by or in some way related to alcohol consumption. Authorities have determined that boating while intoxicated is just as dangerous as driving while intoxicated, if not, more so. Boats lack brakes, so there are no breaks to hit (and then pray). Further, open water is not equipped with traffic safety devices to guide your way, aside from buoy markers. The U.S. Coast Guard and New Jersey law enforcement will be on the look out for impaired boaters this summer on local lakes and rivers. Make no mistake about it if you are questioned by a member of the Coast Guard or police. Offenders can be charged with a DUI or DWI just as they could on land. Penalties include potential loss of all boat as well as automobile operating privileges for six months. The thinking is, if you can't be trusted with a boat, why should law enforcement trust you with a car.
As with all legal cases, details are significant. Further, civil suits may follow quickly. If you have been charged with a DWI/DUI for operating a boat while under the influence contact a defense lawyer immediately so that he or she can devise a legal strategy best suited to protect your rights.