Boats and alcohol: Many boaters think they’re a perfect combination. A nice summer afternoon, a few friends onboard, a cooler of beers – what more could you want, right?
Truth is, drinking while piloting a boat is more dangerous than while driving a car. Boats can’t stop like cars can. Boats don’t have lanes to help drivers anticipate where another boat is heading. Intoxication happens quicker on boats due to the motion of the boat and the likelihood of being dehydrated from exposure to the elements.
Those who fall into the water are more prone to drown than if they hadn’t been drinking. Alcohol increases their chances of hypothermia, makes it more difficult to keep their heads above water, and can impede their sense of direction.
So it’s understandable that law enforcement agencies have gotten tougher of late with intoxicated boaters. More and more boaters have been surprised to find a water patrol officer suddenly on board and issuing a BUI – boating while intoxicated. The blood alcohol level limit for most states is 0.08, a level fairly easily attained. And BUIs can be charged against people operating just about anything that floats, including sailboats, fishing boats and personal watercraft.
You don’t want to be one of those people, especially considering what effect it will have on your insurance. Like a conviction of driving a car under the influence, driving a boat under the influence is likely to dramatically increase your rates. Some insurance companies may even cancel your policy. And we’re talking about both your boat insurance and car insurance rates.
Why? Simply put, you’ve sent a message loud and clear that you’re untrustworthy behind the wheel or the tiller. Insurance companies don’t always distinguish between on-land and on-water offenses. You may well be forced to buy what’s called SR-22 insurance, which is the industry’s term for high-risk clients. Such a designation can double your premiums, and you’ll need to pay that higher rate for anywhere from three to seven years.
To put it succinctly, the cans of beer you had on your boat may end up costing you thousands of dollars due to the higher insurance rates.
Even though boats and alcohol have been a match since at least the days of rum-drinking pirates, you’d be smart to leave the alcohol on the shore and enjoy the experience with all your senses operating at full capacity. You may particularly need them on the weekends of major summer holidays: Memorial Day, the Fourth of July and Labor Day. That’s when alcohol use is at its most dangerous, both on the water and on roads.
Contact Loiselle Insurance Agency today
There are differences among insurance companies in how they evaluate BUIs, just as there are with DUIs. If you’ve recently had a BUI, we can talk through your options and make a decision that makes the most sense for your situation. Give us a call or stop in our office today.