Tennessee provides several picturesque boating opportunities throughout the state. The state’s numerous lakes, rivers, and temperate weather make boating a popular leisure activity for residents and visitors. In addition to leisure boating, over 50 million tons of products are transported on the state’s waterways every year. Naturally, the crowded waterways lead to more Tennessee boating and watercraft accidents.
While Tennessee law imputes liability on vessel owners for damages that their vessel causes, regardless of whether the owner is present, an exception exists when the vessel is used without the owner’s permission or consent. Moreover, the law requires vessels within 300 feet of commercial boat docks to reduce their speed, even when an area is unmarked. Although these laws are essential to reduce the likelihood of accidents and injuries, the most critical laws involve boating under the influence.
Despite the widespread knowledge of the dangers of boating or driving under the influence, people continue to engage in this harmful behavior. Tennessee prohibits individuals from operating a powered or sailing vessel under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Those who fail to abide by these crucial laws may cause significant injuries and property damages. Further, boating under the influence can result in civil and criminal penalties. In addition to collisions, boating injuries may stem from onboard carbon monoxide poisoning, electrical accidents, and equipment defects.