Despite being a desert state with no coastline, a total of 158 serious or fatal Arizona boat accidents occurred in 2008, according to the U.S. Coast Guard. Only Michigan, home to three of the Great Lakes, and the coastal states of Florida, California, Texas, New York and Maryland recorded more boating accidents than Arizona. Authorities point to year-round warm weather and the large number of boaters on the few available waterways.
Boating while intoxicated is also a leading cause of serious and fatal boating accidents.
“You see them out there every time you go to the lake – they’re not hard to spot,” said Ed Huntsman, who oversees boating education for the Arizona Game and Fish Department. “They typically are walking down the dock with a case or two of beer.”
Laws governing boating under the influence in Arizona are much the same as those for driving while intoxicated; boaters face a minimum 10-day jail sentence and a $250 fine.
Other safety advocates argue that Arizona’s problems on the water can be traced to a lack of regulations, including the state’s lack of requirements for boater-safety education.
Arizona Safe Boating Tips
-Wear approved life jackets.
-Don’t drink and boat.
-Understand boating rules and regulations before taking to the water.
-Check the weather. Keep an eye on changing conditions.
-Stay in touch. Cell phones, radios and GPS beacons can help keep you safe in the event of an emergency.
If you have been involved in an Arizona boating accident, contact the Phoenix injury lawyers at Abels & Annes for a free and confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call (602) 819-5191 today.