Every year, thousands of families flock to Missouri’s rivers and lakes to catch a bit of relief from the hot summer sun. Of course, boating is likely to be one of the activities people pursue. While this is a great form of leisure, operating a boat is also a major responsibility.

Like driving a motor vehicle on dry land, carelessness or recklessness behind the controls of a boat poses a major threat to other boaters or swimmers on the water. Furthermore, it’s illegal for boaters to be intoxicated while operating a watercraft, exactly like motorists. The unfortunate reality is that people still consume too much alcohol before cruising around a lake or river, despite the law.

Missouri statute establishes a blood-alcohol limit of 0.08 percent, which the same intoxication standard for motorists operating a vehicle on land. Of course, alcohol violations based on this law are just one way to hold boaters accountable for ill-advised decisions.

At the same time, those who are injured in a boating accident may have recourse in civil court, depending on the circumstances behind the crash. Pursuing this legal option can help relieve the physical and financial strain caused by an alcohol-related accident.

Although boaters may be able to consume alcohol on a watercraft, caution must still be exercised. Simply being able to have a drink while relaxing on the lake doesn’t provide permission to consume alcohol in excess. As the summer dawns on Missouri, it will be important for boaters to be aware of this preventable — yet very real — boating safety concern.

Source: WestlawNext, V.A.M.S. 306.112

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