Wisconsin’s lakes and rivers see heavy boating traffic each year, and law enforcement is taking their role seriously in preventing alcohol-related boating deaths. In 2012, Wisconsin had the third-highest number of boating deaths related to alcohol as well as numerous personal injury accidents involving drunk boaters. Eight people lost their lives on Wisconsin waters in 2012 due to the actions of intoxicated boaters.
While a proposed law failed to pass that would have affected drivers’ licenses as well as suspended boating privileges for drunk boaters, Wisconsin authorities still take drunk boating seriously and issue more than 400 citations per year for drunk driving, speeding and other infractions. Many of these citations involve boaters who come too close to people on small flotation devices. Other citations involve those inside the boating sitting on the edge rails, a dangerous practice that leads to many injuries.
Most boat patrols are conducted from land, although officials do have access to boats and jet skis. In many cases, boaters are not confronted until they dock or are waved over from the shore. Officials say that in many cases, they simply try to educate the boater rather than bringing a charge against him or her.
A personal injury attorney may represent someone who has been injured in a boating accident, especially if the driver of the boat was intoxicated at the time of the incident. An intoxicated boater who hurts another person may be liable for damages and ordered to pay for the injured individual’s medical treatment, living expenses and pain and suffering. A personal injury attorney may review the case and assist the victim in an attempt to collect these damages.
Source: Wisconsin Rapids Tribune, “Increase in people on lakes, rivers brings more safety patrols”, May 26, 2013