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  1. Boating Boozed John Fulweiler 09-Jul-2011
  2. Is that a Salty Barrister on the Horizon?! John Fulweiler 21-Jun-2011
  3. My Insurer is Trying to Break Up with Me! John Fulweiler 22-Nov-2010
  4. Help! My Insurer Sent Me a Declination Letter! John Fulweiler 01-Oct-2010
  5. A Shiny New Hurricane WInd Scale John Fulweiler 10-Sep-2010



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The Salty Barrister

Experienced admiralty attorney John Fulweiler shares some insights into the "Law of the Sea". Capt. Fulweiler grew up as a RI Boater, and spent several of his collegiate summers as a Safe/Sea Captain.

Boating Boozed

John Fulweiler - Saturday, July 09, 2011

I was out and about on the Bay this past weekend. At a local marina, I saw a boat laden with blurry eyes and ruddy cheeks. I could tell from the pitch and cackle that there’d been some festive making and good for them, I say. That is, as long as they stay parked at the dock and off the road.

This isn’t some public service announcement, so don’t read these words like I’m preaching to you, because I’m not. Instead think of this blog entry as nothing more than a lowly sign spivened with rust and tacked poorly and lopsided to a piling.

Operating a boat while intoxicated is a crime and it’s a crime because while liquor may give you muscles and goggles, it doesn’t give you judgment. It’ll have you throttling up in darkened waters and throwing a wake in calm. Moreover, my sense is that more of us are using these common waters and low-lying kayaks, zippy jet skis and those odd-looking paddle boards are all over the place. Liquor doesn’t make navigating much less threading your way through good water any easier.

While each state’s laws will vary, Rhode Island’s boating while intoxicated law appears somewhat similar to what you find on its highways. Get nicked with a blood alcohol content that exceeds .08% and you’ve got a big problem. Or put it this way, get nicked with something over .08% and your friendly admiralty attorney will be joining you for the weekend’s festivities!

You know I’m not a fan of boating laws. I don’t want to be told to wear a PFD or get a license or affix a sticker, but with 400 miles of coastline and its share of yahoos, these liquor laws make sense. I mean, even the most hardened of you would have to agree that a liquored-up yahoo with a wide open throttle is a lot different than a liquored-up yahoo without a lifejacket.

Underway and making way, and a belated Happy Fourth of July.

--- JKF

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