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A discussion about boating under the influence

Did you know that according to the Insurance Information Institute the number of boating accidents that involve alcohol is roughly 50 percent? That's a startling figure that really puts the matter into focus. The Coast Guard also says that when a boating accident happens that involve alcohol, the chance for the incident to be fatal is increased 34 percent.

Look, people should never operate a boat when they have had alcohol in their system. It's just a stupid decision that could result in the individual getting into serious trouble -- and in the worst cases, the individual gets into trouble after causing a tragic accident. Just avoid this if you can.

Now, with that said, no one is naive enough to think that everyone is going to obey this line of thinking. There will be people out there who operate a boat while under the influence, even in the face of all the evidence that says you shouldn't. The question then becomes: do we throw the book at these people and punish them as harshly as the law allows, or should we try to make them see the error of their ways and try to improve them as people?

BUIs can levy massive consequences on the accused individual, leading to them losing their ability to drive a car, spending time in jail, and paying huge fines that cripple them financially. Ultimately, they will likely have a criminal record that could haunt them for a long time.

There are two things to take away from that. The first is that anyone accused of a BUI needs to get legal help. Even if the odds are against them, they need legal help to protect their rights and to, at the very least, minimize the potential legal damage of the case.

The other factor here is that even though it may seem like punishment is the best way to deal with people who drive vehicles under the influence of alcohol, it could be that therapy, treatment and other alternative forms of punishment could better deal with the personal problems of an individual who drive a car or boat under the influence of alcohol.

Source: FindLaw, "Boating Under the Influence Basics," Accessed March 26, 2015

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