Wonderful Florida weather brings wonderful Florida boating opportunities. However, with wonderful boating opportunities comes the risk of a serious and sometimes fatal boating accident or crash. Last year alone, there were approximately seventy (70) reported boating accidents in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties alone. Eight of those boating accidents caused a person to be killed.
One Florida lawmaker has introduced a bill that may reduce the chances of a boating accident. According to My Fox Tampa Bay, State Representative Gayle Harrell recently filed a bill that would make boating under the influence carry the same weight on someone’s driving record as a DUI.
Currently, Florida Statute 327.35 outlines the penalty for boating under the influence. If someone is convicted of boating under the influence, their punishment is as follows:
1. By a fine of:
a. Not less than $500 or more than $1,000 for a first conviction.
b. Not less than $1,000 or more than $2,000 for a second conviction; AND
2. By imprisonment for:
a. Not more than 6 months for a first conviction.
b. Not more than 9 months for a second conviction.
However, although the Boating Under the Influence conviction shows up on a criminal record, it does not show up on the offender’s driving record. The proposed bill would incorporate the Boating Under the Influence convictions with the DUI convictions that could result in stiffer penalties for either future charge.
It is unclear if the bill will go anywhere in the Florida legislature. Right now, it is in a House subcommittee where many great ideas die. Doing nothing could put Floridians at greater risk of being in a boating accident caused by a drunk boater.
Whether or not there is a change in the law, boat safely and watch out for those who don’t.
Personal Injury Attorney Matthew Noyes represents those injured in boating accidents, car accidents, motorcycle crashes, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents and other types of personal injury matters. His Clearwater law firm – Perenich Caulfield Avril Noyes – is one of the oldest personal injury law firms in Pinellas County. Call Attorney Matthew Noyes now at 727-796-8282 or simply click here to schedule a free case consultation.