At the Law Offices of Lyle C. Cavin, Jr. & Associates, we understand that working on a sea vessel can be stressful and dangerous. As such, we also know that a ship’s crew may blow off steam by having a few drinks. There is nothing wrong with safely imbibing, but as you know, people may drink and drive, as well as boat and drive. This can present serious safety issues for California mariners.
Boating under the influence is usually a charge that applies to recreational boaters, as FindLaw explains. In the summer months or in warmer climates, combining pleasure boating with alcohol is common with those who are escaping from their everyday lives. However, this doesn’t mean you are invulnerable to the dangers. Many boaters underestimate the potential impact of operating a vessel with alcohol in their systems, since ships aren’t restricted to narrow roads with traffic close by. Your crew members may also falsely assume that getting drunk on a ship is no big deal.
If a crew member on duty is intoxicated, he or she can endanger the others on the vessel, as you might imagine. For example, a captain with a high blood alcohol content could pilot the ship into another vessel or crash in the marina. A drunk crew member might ignore safety procedures and cause an accident on the ship. Such accidents could be serious enough to cause a fire, an electrical hazard or even sink the ship.
Irresponsible crew members can endanger your life or the life of a loved one who works in the marine industry. As our page explains, you have legal rights if a crew member or leader’s negligence led to an accident.