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Designating A Boat Driver Can Prevent Boating Accidents

Posted on Jul 11, 2012

Attorney Chris Davis addresses the risks of Seattle’s most popular boating weekend.

More than 500 boats and thousands of people will be on the waters of Lake Washington and Lake Union during Seafair week.  Many seafarers will be drinking alcohol as they celebrate and enjoying the Blue Angles show and hydroplane races.  Washington State Patrol (WSP) will be working to prevent the mixture of alcohol and boating from turning deadly for partygoers.

The U.S. Coast Guard claims that alcohol is the leading contributing factor in boating fatalities, and that nearly one-fifth of all boating fatalities involve an alcohol-impaired driver.

“As a boat owner myself, I am a big advocate of boating/water safety,” said attorney Chris Davis. “And as a lawyer I’ve seen firsthand the life-changing injuries that can be inflicted by a serious boating accident.  Unfortunately alcohol frequently plays a major role.”

Seafair weekend is among the most widely-celebrated in Seattle, and is also one of the busiest of the year for law enforcement agencies throughout the Puget Sound region.  Reckless boating patrols have typically been a major focus for local law enforcement during Seafair weekend. The WSP reportedly made 71 boating under the influence (BUI) arrests during the celebrated weekend in 2011.

“Law enforcement and groups like MADD work year-round to educate the public about the dangers of driving a vehicle, even a boat, while under the influence of alcohol,” Mr. Davis added. “But there are still many people who put the safety of themselves and others else at risk by making the decision to operate a boat while intoxicated.  In contrast, some people will hire a boat captain for the weekend so they can safely enjoy the festivities knowing that they have a designated driver.”

Davis, who serves as the principal attorney and founder of the Davis Law Group in downtown Seattle, has authored a series of legal guides that he makes available to accident victims as part of the Washington Accident Books series. In conjunction with Seafiar Mr. Davis is offering his book, Washington Injury Law: A Reference Guide for Accident Victims, for free to boating accident victims in Washington State.