Boaters: Stay focused on staying sober

It is official: There is less than a month until summer ends and autumn officially begins. Kids are getting ready to head back to school, summer vacations have come and gone, and it’s just a matter of time before we start seeing fall holiday decorations in the stores.

However, just because the season is changing doesn’t mean that people across Nashville have to stop doing the things we love doing in the summer. For instance, you may still have several boating, fishing or skiing trips to get ready for, but we want to remind people that they must stay focused on being safe and complying state boating regulations. This includes refraining fromĀ boating under the influence of alcohol.

Just like driving a motor vehicle on the road, operating a boat or any other watercraft requires people to be attentive and cautious. It is a complicated piece of equipment that can cause serious amounts of damage if a driver is reckless or negligent behind the wheel.

And just like driving a car, it can be all but impossible to operate a boat safely if you are intoxicated. A boater who is drunk can experience delayed reflexes, impaired decision-making skills, compromised vision and loss of coordination which can drastically affect their ability to operate a boat properly and safely.

In Tennessee, the laws on drunk boating are clear: anyone who operates a powered watercraft or sailing vessel with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent or higher is considered impaired.

If a drunk boater causes an accident, victims should understand that not only can the driver face criminal charges, he or she can also be held responsible for damages through a civil lawsuit. The money that can be awarded in these cases can help those affected by a drunk boater recover economic and non-economic damages that can make it a little easier to cope with the accident and move forward.