Serving as the captain of a ship is as safety-critical as being the pilot of an airplane. Captains need to sometimes make split-second decisions that can affect the safety of everyone on board. Their experience and education will help them decide how to protect their passengers, their vessels, their crew and their cargo.
Despite all of the possible risks on the high seas, most boating trips are long and uneventful. Although much of their job is monotonous, it is crucial that captains remain sober and attentive throughout each trip.
Unfortunately, some people do not treat operating a vessel with the respect it deserves. They will come to work drunk or discreetly consume alcohol on the job. Who is liable when a drunk captain contributes to a maritime accident?
The captain is primarily to blame
Individuals have responsibility for their own behavior, which means that the captain who chose to drink on the job is the one with the most responsibility for the problems that arise because of their behavior. They will undoubtedly already know how alcohol plays a role in a major portion of the serious maritime incidents that occur.
However, there may be other parties with some liability as well. The company that employs the captain could be vulnerable to financial and legal consequences, especially if there were prior issues with that captain involving alcohol. Having inadequate staff, failing to provide sufficient training and utilizing lax background check protocols are all ways that companies could open themselves up to liability when a captain on their payroll causes an accident because of alcohol use.
Knowing who is to hold responsible will help you pursue compensation after a boating accident affects you or the people you love.