Boating Under The Influence: Facts You Need To Know

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 an important factor in 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 for sailing under the influence of BUI to operate a ship while drunk. 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 caused by 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.

• Instead, bring non-alcoholic beverages such as sodas, water, iced tea, and soda on board. 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 getting under driving under the influence of boats.

• Be aware that BUI laws apply to all boats (including canoes and rowboats). 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 learn more about boat safety ratings and how to register your boat on the government info pages.

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Debbie Hanson

Debbie Hanson is an award-winning outdoor writer, women’s fishing advocate, IGFA world record holder, and freshwater guide in southwest Florida. Hanson’s writing 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 or follow her on Instagram @ shefishes2.

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