Boat Crash Kills One; Intoxication Suspected Cause

Authorities arrested a boater after his fishing boat crashed into a pontoon boat, tragically killing a 9-year-old boy, injuring three others and leaving one teen missing. Authorities allege the man was intoxicated at the time of the collision. The Georgia Department of Natural Resources charged the man with boating under the influence of alcohol.

Studies suggest alcohol contributes to 34 percent of fatal boat accidents each year. Louisiana’s vehicular homicide penal statute applies to both motor vehicles and watercrafts. State law further carries strict criminal penalties for people who boat under the influence of drugs or alcohol, including hefty fines, driver’s license suspension and imprisonment.

Several other factors can also lead to a collision on the water. The operator of even a recreational boat is under a legal duty to operate the boat safely and carefully. In 2011, operator inattention was the primary cause of boating accidents in the United States. Other common causes included operator inexperience, reckless operation, failure to keep a proper lookout, failure to yield, overloading and speeding.

In addition to criminal charges, victims of boating accidents can also recover damages in tort law under a theory of negligence. In particular, a court may presume negligence when the civil defendant violated a statute relevant to his or her allegedly negligent behavior. For questions, contact Broussard & David, at at 888-337-2323 (toll-free) or 337-337-2323 (local).