Boating Under The Influence: A Deadly Combination

We read in the paper this week about a tragedy which occurred on Lake Lanier outside of Atlanta. A ski boat being operated by an individual under the influence of alcohol crashed head-on into a pontoon boat occupied by 13 people. Many of the people on the pontoon boat were seriously injured and apparently two young boys killed. As of the date of this blog, the authorities were still searching for a missing 9-year old boy. The driver of the ski boat was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the incident and after the horrific collision actually fled the scene. He was later arrested and charged with homicide and failure to render aid.
This tragic incident proves once again that driving under the influence whether on land in a vehicle or on water in a boat can be extremely deadly for people in the vicinity of such irresponsible driver/operators. We have blogged before about the dangers on lakes particularly during holiday seasons and the summer months when many people are recreating on local lakes. Boating under the influence, particularly at night as happened to be the case in this most recent tragedy, can be extremely dangerous because of visibility problems. Suffice it to say that during the summer months when many more people are on lakes in boats there needs to be a designated driver for the boat and if the principal operator has been drinking, such drinking must be curtailed to a minimum so as not to expose other members of the public to the dangers of boating under the influence.
As a result of this horrific incident, obviously, there will likely be a long jail sentence for the boat operator under the influence because of the death of the two young boys and the serious injuries sustained by others. Leaving the scene only made the situation worse. Whether the boating operator is financially responsible and had sufficient liability insurance coverage to provide a modicum of relief for the affected families is unknown.
Our condolences go out to the families of those injured and killed in this senseless tragic incident. Be careful out there and do not drink and drive, whether on land or in a boat.

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