Boating under the Influence (BUI)Most drivers are aware that it is illegal to operate a motorized vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs or if their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is above the legal limit of 0.08%. Individuals are less aware that it is also illegal to operate a boat, which is considered a motorized vehicle, if they are impaired by alcohol and drugs. In fact, all states have law enforcement officers who can stop boats and verify that the operators are safely operating the motor craft on the water.
Why the concern for water safety? It is estimated that most of the fatal boating accidents involve drugs or alcohol. In fact, the U.S. Guard reports that if drivers are boating under the influence of alcohol or drugs this can increase incidence of boating deaths by 34%. Factors which may increase the risk of alcohol consumption and boating can include the boaters age, weight, the sun, the noise of the boat and amount of food the driver has consumed. Keep in mind some states may charge you with BUI if you are operating some types of water crafts which are not motorized including fishing boats, sailboats, yachts, personal watercrafts, or sailboards.