Alabama Kids, Boating and Drinking

Apr 22, 2019 | Allen A. Ritchie

Boat Accident

As we head into summer, please take a few minutes to talk to your kids about boat safety.

I can see your eyes roll. I understand. I grew up in and around the water of Mobile and my eyes have rolled for decades as people tried to talk to me. However, as a lawyer, I have learned a few things.

Here is number one: Alabama is predicted to have more boating deaths this year than in the last 20 years.

Let me put on my lawyer flip flops and explain why.

Boating accidents generally fall into two areas: inattention/inexperience of the boater and alcohol abuse. If you don’t want to face tragedy this summer, make sure your kids and other family members are well trained before operating a boat and strongly enforce a “don’t drink and sail” policy.

Here are some other laws that Alabama boaters should know:

  • Report any accident that causes significant property damage or bodily injury to police.
  • No one under the age of 12 can operate a boat on Alabama waters.
  • In Alabama, you are required to have a wearable personal floatation device available for each person on board.
  • If you drink and boat, the penalties are basically the same as on land. Your boat operating privileges can be revoked for months, you can be fined in the thousands of dollars and go to jail for up to a year.

Let me give one other piece of lawyer and water lover advice. It is extremely difficult to see a swimmer’s head bobbing in and out of the water when you are in a boat or on a jet ski. I offer this advice because tragedy does happen. I see it in my work every day. Be careful.

If you or a loved one is injured, you can talk to us at the Law Firm of Eiland and Ritchie for free. We help all kinds of people and if we can’t help, we will tell you who can.

Also join us on NBC 15 LawCall here in Mobile every Sunday night at 10:30 right after the news. We will take your calls live.

Allen Ritchie

Alabama Personal Injury Lawyer