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Impaired boating: what to be aware of on the water

People who live in or visit Georgia during this time of year often look forward to spending some amount of time on the water. Boating is very popular in this state, so it can be crucial for people to understand and appreciate the laws related to the operation of a boat.

Just like a car or truck, a boat requires an operator to take certain precautions to avoid accidents. This means obeying speed restrictions, maintaining a safe distance between other watercrafts and having the proper training and experience before getting behind the wheel. Perhaps most importantly, though, is the requirement to avoid operating a boat if you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

People who are boating may feel like it's not a big deal to have a few drinks and go out on the water. In fact, it's not uncommon to see people on their boats drinking alcohol, and this is not necessary illegal. However, if the driver of a boat has a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent or higher, he or she can be arrested for boating under the influence, according to the Georgia Boat Safety Act. If a driver is under 21, that limit is set at 0.02 percent.

Boaters who are impaired by alcohol or unlawful drugs pose a serious threat to the other people on the water. They can drive too fast, lose control of the boat or crash into docks, boats, and people swimming in the water. There aren't always clear distinctions of where boaters are heading or where people may be, so it is up to every boater to have clear thinking and good judgment while they are driving.

Sadly, there are many boaters who don't comply with boating laws and operate a watercraft while intoxicated. In the event that an accident is caused by a boater under the influence of drugs or alcohol, it can be crucial for victims to know that they have the right to hold that driver responsible for damages, which can be considerable. For information on to go about this, victims can speak with an attorney about their rights and legal options.

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