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Law enforcement in the Virginia Beach, Portsmouth and Norfolk area have been out in full force this summer looking for boaters who are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. They refer to their effort as Operation Dry Water, which is a joint effort by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, the U.S. Coast Guard, the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators, state agencies as well as local police departments.


Alcohol abuse is the number one contributing factor in boating deaths in the U.S., experts report. Also, according to Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries Acting Chief of Law Enforcement Clark Greene, there already have been 12 boating deaths in Virginia, as of June 2016.

Officer Greene noted that some people view boats as toys and if people are having fun, alcohol is a natural part of that. However, just as with driving, boating with a BAC of .08 or higher is against the law. Punishments for BUI are the same as DUI in Virginia: Up to a $2500 fine and a year in jail.

Also, a boater can lose his privilege to operate a boat for a year on the first offense.

Our View

When our clients are injured in a boating injury accident, as long as there is boaters insurance there can be a source of financial restitution for you and your loved ones. If a boater is wise and has boat liability insurance, most insurance agents will recommend uninsured boater insurance in a policy. We highly recommend obtaining this coverage. Even though it is optional, having quality insurance coverage is essential to protect you, your family, friends, and anyone else who partakes in an outing with you on your boat. You just never know what will happen on the open water. If an accident occurs and the injuries to you and the people close to you are significant, adequate insurance coverage will be absolutely critical to cover medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Our Norfolk boat accident law firm was involved in a case where a boater was pulling two teenagers on a three person towable, and the operator made a wide turn and accidentally caused the towed float to smash into another stationary boat and serious injuries occurred. When the boat operator did not have enough insurance, the teenagers were also afforded underinsured coverage under their own parent’s boat policy.

Our Virginia drunk driving and boating attorneys are dedicated to suing convicted DUI and BUI offenders. Far too many innocent Virginians are killed and injured by these selfish and reckless individuals every year. We applaud the authorities in the Hampton Roads Virginia area for keeping our waters safe.

As with drunk driving accidents, boating accidents involving alcohol can be very complicated. The victim or family may be overwhelmed with insurance paperwork as they attempt to get medical bills and other expenses covered.

That is why our Virginia boating accident lawyers wrote the Boating Accident Injury Guide. This free guide contains what you need to know about Virginia boating accident law, what to do about insurance and whether you should take legal action against the person who was at fault for the accident.

DUI and BUI accidents can lead to large settlements and verdicts with proper legal counsel, so please review the boating accident guide and let us know if you have questions.

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