Naturally, many people see the distinction between driving a vehicle-commonly on the road-and a boating vessel-commonly on a body of water-and assume that the distinction means that actions that violate the law pertaining to each mode of transport will be different. However, this is not the case in Louisiana-the law in the state considers driving a boat the same as driving a car and this means boaters who drink and drive also receive a DWI following a recreational boating accident.
According to Wildlife and Fisheries, the first offense DWI can lead to a fine between $300 and $1000 and up to six months in prison. The second offense can lead to a fine between $750 and $1000 accompanied by a maximum of six months in prison. The third offense DWI sees a $5000 fine and between one and five years in prison.
According to a senior agent, the reason the law is so strict is because the waterways, similar to roads, get crowded with multiple vessels in a condensed area. Adding alcohol and drugs into the situation just makes the waterways more dangerous-studies show that someone with a blood alcohol concentration of .10 or higher is 10 times more likely to die in a boating accident.
Staying sober on the water, as on the road, is a definite way to avoid accidents. When people do not heed this advice, they end up causing a crash and subsequent injuries and fatalities that could have completely been avoided had the person behind the wheel remained sober. A drunk driver could be held accountable for his or her behavior in admiralty and maritime law.