Boating can give you a natural excitement that comes from healthy things like sunshine, relaxation, and catching the day. Given all of these great things, why should you even think about risking your life by sailing under the influence of boats? Do yourself a favor, grab a bass and skip the beer.
According to US Coast Guard research into recreational craft accidents and BUI’s contribution, alcohol is not just illegal in every state. Alcohol is a major contributor to boating accidents. Make sure you know these important facts about alcohol and boat safety.
• Can you get a DUI on a boat? Yes, every state has laws that prohibit driving a boat while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The details of these laws may vary from state to state, but you can be absolutely condemned to boating under the influence (BUI) for operating a ship while intoxicated. This means that the answer to the question “Can you drink and take a boat?” is “no”.
• The US Coast Guard routinely patrols our nation’s waterways and can arrest you if you drive a boat under the influence, just as police officers can arrest you if you drive a car under the influence.
• What are the possible consequences of a boat DUI or BUI? Not only can conviction of a BUI result in the suspension or loss of your boating license, but you can also lose your license in some states.
• Engine noise, sun, wind and heat can accelerate the impairment of alcohol consumption on the water. You can learn more about these and other threats associated with BUI by reading about the U.S. Coast Guard’s BUI initiatives.
• Bring soft drinks such as sodas, water, iced tea, and soda on board instead. Obey the law and set a good example of boat safety.
• If you decide to have lunch at a waterfront restaurant and drink alcohol with your meal, remember to wait at least an hour per drink before operating your boat to avoid being under driving under the influence of boats.
• Note that BUI laws apply to all boats (including canoes and row boats). When deciding where to go by boat, consider places near your home so as not to get tired and make a bad decision. Remember that fresh air and sun can make you feel tired a lot faster than you might think.
Remember the answer to the question “Can you drink and take a boat?” will always be “no” If you are a new boat owner, you can find out more about boat safety ratings and how to register your boat on the government information pages.
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Debbie Hanson is an award-winning outdoor writer, advocate of sport fishing for women, IGFA world record holder and freshwater guide in southwest Florida. Hanson’s written work has been featured in publications such as Florida Game & Fish Magazine, BoatUS Magazine, and USA Today Hunt & Fish. To learn more about her work, visit shefishes2.com or follow her on Instagram @ shefishes2.