If you operate a fishing boat, sailboat, yacht, personal watercraft, or sailboard, you could be charged with Boating Under the Influence (BUI). Just like driving under the influence (DUI), legal penalties can range from civil fines and the forfeiture of your boating license, to prison time in criminal cases for causing a death while boating under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
The U.S. Guard reports that BUI incidents increase boating fatalities by approximately 34 percent. A rise in alcohol and drug-related boating injuries and fatalities prompted state legislatures to enact BUI laws. This table lays out the various Blood Alcohol Content limits for boating under the influence.
|State||BAC Level for boater to be itoxicated, by state||Minor BAC level?||If 'Yes,' the lower BAC level for minor boaters|
|Arizona||0.08||Yes||0.00%, none allowed|
|California||0.08 for recreational boat operators; 0.01 for minors under 21; 0.04 for commercial operator||Yes||0.01; California, boaters under 21 are not allowed to consume any alcohol at all. A person under 21 with a BAC of .01 percent or more cannot even use water skis. A BAC of .01 percent to .05 percent in a boater under 21 is an infraction, with penalties similar to a traffic ticket.|
|Connecticut||0.08 adults||Yes||0.02 under 21|
|Florida||0.08||Yes||BAC/breath alcohol level of 0.02 or greater|
|Indiana||0.08||Yes||Any amount of BAC is a violation of anyone under 21 years old|
|Louisiana||0.08||Yes||BAC under 21 is 0.02|
|Maine||0.08||Yes||BAC under 21, violation for any alcohol in the blood|
|New Hampshire||0.08 or higher by blood, breath, or urine; or between .03 and .08 along with other evidence||Yes||.02 under 21 years old|
|New York||0.08 for adults; .04 for commercial operators; 0.02 under 21 years old||Yes||.02 under 21 years old|
|North Carolina||.08 BAC||No|
|Ohio||0.08 or more BAC||Yes||.02 BAC under 21 years old|
|Vermont||0.08||Yes||.02 under 21 years old|
|Virginia||0.08||Yes||.02 under 21 years old|
How BAC is Measured
A defendant's BAC level will be determined through one of three methods. The most common of these methods involves analyzing the defendant's breath. Other tests examine the defendant's blood or urine. Refinements in the methods by which a defendant's BAC is determined have strengthened the ability of prosecutors to prove this BAC. However, these tests are not above reproach, and skilled defense attorneys can often successfully attack the methods by which the defendant's BAC was analyzed.
Charged with BUI? Get Free Legal Advice
One minute you're sipping your third beer while cruising across the lake on a gorgeous summer day; the next, you're in handcuffs on a police boat. Boating under the influence of alcohol or other drugs can be just as dangerous as driving drunk, and the laws reflect this. Learn more about your charges and suggested first steps by having a DUI attorney review your case for free.