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Oakland Personal Injury Lawyer / Blog / Boat Accident / Statistics On Boating DUI Accidents In California

Statistics On Boating DUI Accidents In California


California is home to more than 840 miles of Pacific Ocean coastline and thousands of navigable lakes and rivers, so it may not surprise you to learn that boating accidents are common. However, digging deeper into the statistics reveals the role that alcohol plays in these tragic incidents. According to the California Department of Parks and Recreation, alcohol is a contributing factor in more than 30 percent of all boating fatalities in the state and is the leading cause of boat-related deaths nationwide.

Not only is boating under the influence (BUI) is a crime, but you may also be able to recover compensation through a civil case, if you were hurt or lost a loved one in a drunk boating crash. You might also have legal options to hold negligent individuals accountable when alcohol was not a factor, and an Oakland boat accident attorney can describe your legal remedies in more detail.

Statistics on Boating Accidents in California

It is unlawful to operate a boat, personal watercraft, jet ski, wave runner, or other motorized watercraft with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 percent or more. Just as with drunk driving an automobile, violations can lead to an arrest for BUI. However, US Coast Guard data on alcohol-related boating accidents reveals the threat of punishment is not enough to deter all boaters. For instance:

  • There are more than 280 boating accidents every year in which alcohol consumption was listed as the primary contributing factor.
  • Annual BUI accidents cause 113 fatalities and 221 injuries to victims on average, for a total of 334 casualties. In other words, drunk boating crashes typically involve multiple victims.
  • In California, intoxicated boating crashes lead to 5 fatalities and 18 injured victims every year. 

Other Causes of California Boating Accidents

In general, boat collisions occur because of negligence, which refers to the legal duty boat operators owe to others on the water. A boater is required to use reasonable care when driving the watercraft, so as to not cause a risk of harm to others. Boating while intoxicated is one example of negligence, but others may include:

  • Operator inattention or distraction;
  • Lack of knowledge regarding navigational laws, aids to navigation, signage, and water conditions;
  • Failing to carry proper safety gear on board, including personal flotation devices (PFDs), flares, rafts, and fire extinguishers;
  • Lack of experience operating a vessel; or
  • Speeding, racing, or reckless operation.

Liability in a BUI collision or other boating accident is similar to other personal injury matters, so you may qualify to recover for your medical costs, lost wages, pain and suffering, and many other losses.

Our Oakland Boating Accident Lawyers Can Assist with Your Claim 

If you were injured or someone close to you died in a BUI or other boating collision, please contact Venardi Zurada, LLP to set up a complimentary case review. We can meet with you at our offices in Oakland or Walnut Creek, CA to discuss your circumstances and explain how we can help with various stages of the legal process.



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