Boating is a great way to relax. You can spend long days on the lake with your friends, having fun and soaking up the sun. However, resist the temptation to crack open a tall, cold one to add to the excitement. Drinking while commanding a boat might be against the law. Here's why.
Intoxicated boating creates a very dangerous situation. Therefore, you have to think about the potential risks of drinking while boating. If you're caught doing so, you might face severe consequences.
The Risks Of Boating While Drunk
Think of a lake as you would any public roadway. Other boaters are other drivers. You are the driver of your own vehicle — your boat, of course. Therefore, risks of collisions and injuries affect boaters in almost the same way they would any driver. Drinking and boating will therefore lead to many of the same risks of drinking and driving.
Drinking while boating will impair your abilities to safely drive the boat. Your risks of accidents will likely increase the more intoxicated you become. You might begin to suffer from lack of judgement, blurred vision and lost faculties. Your risk of harming others could rise.
If you boat drunk, and accidents happen, you might face costly personal losses. If you harm others, you could be responsible for their losses. You might face boat insurance claims and the resulting penalties. That is why states enforce strict laws on boating under the influence (BUI).
All 50 states have BUI regulations — though these do vary, as each state's legal blood alcohol limits differ. The penalties for BUIs will differ as well. You could face large fines, jail time, loss of privileges and loss of registration. The BUI charge could even affect your boat insurance's premiums. Your eligibility to afford coverage could therefore drop.
Not only that, some states even attach BUI penalties to your driver's license and driving privileges. Therefore, you could not only face boating penalties, but also driving penalties that apply to your regular car.
It is in your best interest to avoid drinking if you are the boat's navigator. In some cases, it is okay to drink on boats. For instance, you also are allowed to bring open containers aboard. The key here is to not drink to excess if you are the driver. You cannot exceed your state's legal limits, or else the consequences will kick in.
Before boating, carefully review the local rules on regulations for the body of water you plan to utilize. You never want to put yourself in a tricky situation. When in doubt, put the bottle down. You'll thank yourself later.