Baltimore Boating Accident Lawyers: What Can Be Learned from the Don Dwyer Case — Dangers of Boating and DrinkingOctober 1, 2013
In August 2012, Maryland Delegate Donald H. Dwyer Jr.’s vessel collided with another boat on the Magothy River. The accident resulted in serious injuries to seven people — including to himself and to four children. Dwyer faced charges of boating under the influence (BUI) stemming from the accident.
This past May, Dwyer pleaded guilty for drunk boating and was sentenced to 30 days in jail. The Washington Post reported that Dwyer’s blood alcohol content was three times the legal limit. During sentencing the judge called the issue of fault “irrelevant,” according to The Washington Post. Although which captain was at fault may still remain a question, proof that Dwyer was drunk at the time is likely to be a factor in determining liability in a personal injury lawsuit.
The Dwyer case highlights the dangers of drinking alcohol while boating. Many people who understand the risks of driving a car while drunk fail to recognize the potentially devastating consequences of operating a boat while intoxicated. The U.S. Coast Guard’s Boating Safety Resource Center explains that alcohol impairment accelerates in the marine environment — because of the sun, wind spray and the boat’s motion and vibration. The USCG aptly states, “Alcohol can turn a great day on the water into the tragedy of a lifetime,” and offers these suggestions for avoiding intoxication:
- Pack plenty of nonalcoholic beverages and snacks
- Wear clothing that keeps you cool
- Limit your boat trip to avoid fatigue
- Restrict alcohol consumption to an onshore location
- Wait a reasonable time after consuming alcohol before operating your boat
- Remember intoxicated passengers can also be at risk of injury or falls overboard
If you or a loved one has been injured in a boating accident in Maryland, call the Baltimore boating accident lawyers of LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton, P.A. at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or online to discuss your legal options and start getting the compensation you deserve.