Boating While Intoxicated: High Waters

While most would consider boating and other water sports safe, fun, recreational pastimes, there is a surplus of overlooked tragedy happening on our waters every day. Lakes and rivers are meant to be natural places of beauty, but unfortunately, not everyone on the water is as concerned with the rules and regulations as they should be. Boating Facts, provided by Texas Parks & Wildlife, has some shocking statistics that seem to only be growing with recent news reports.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife is responsible for “providing outdoor recreational opportunities and managing habitats such as lakes within the state of Texas”. According to statistics that they released in, Boating Facts,”alcohol plays a role in 50 percent of all boating accidents”. When one out of two accidents is caused by the consumption of alcohol obviously drunken boating is not being addressed. BWI, or boating while intoxicated, offenders “may be jailed for up to 180 days, be fined as much as $2,000 or both.” With such a low fine it is obvious many of today’s boaters choose to operate their vessels under the influence with little fear of punishment from lake authorities. After all, boating is not a cheap hobby, and many of these boat owners are in higher socioeconomic positions and therefore can incur these low fines without worry. This lack of responsibility can not continue to pass through the cracks.

This information serves to enlighten us on building a safer future for this country, in every way. The unnecessary deaths of many innocent people on the water must come to an end. Jarring headlines from Dallas News such as, “Texas man charged in boating accident that killed 8-year old boy” can cease to exist with stricter legislation and boating policy. In this particular accident the driver of the boat was indeed operating well over the legal limit for alcohol consumption and violating the no wake zone. There is no place on our waters for the blatant disregard of lawful precautions. In tragic, life taking events it is expected that the natural course of the law is to conduct an investigation and hold the vehicle operator responsible. In such events, it is typical for a personal injury lawyer to represent the victim and their family in order to pursue appropriate reparations for the victim’s family.

In summary, there is an unacceptable indifference to boating while under the influence of alcohol in our present day. Work must be done to elevate the level at which Texas Parks and Wildlife can continue to provide outdoor recreational opportunities so that they are safe for all parties involved. Meanwhile, cheap, non-threatening fines continue to allow reckless maritime operators access to the water at the risk of causing harm to innocent bystanders, including in many cases, children. Our lakes should not be dangerous places for our recreational activities. These places are to be where we find peace and relaxation. Let’s work together to achieve that for every person who enjoys the lakes of this great state.


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