Most people are aware that driving a car while impaired is against the law. But not everyone understands that driving a boat impaired is against the law as well. It is too often that people take their boats out to party with a group of friends, decide to drink all day long in the sun, and then attempt to drive the boat full of people home. Not only is this against the law but it is downright dangerous. While in a car you need to be careful of pedestrians and other vehicles on the road. While in a boat you usually do not have a top to protect you if an accident occurs, there are different depths of water you need to pay attention to, and there is also going to be plenty of other boats in the water. If you happen to get pulled over by an officer on the water after you have been drinking and driving your vessel, be prepared to pay some heavy fines and have your license revoked.
The legal limit in most states for Blood alcohol level is .08. This means if you are pulled over and blow into a breathalyzer and your BAC is above .08 you will automatically be arrested for boating under the influence. What you need to realize is that it does not take very many drinks to reach this level, especially after you have been out in the sun all day. You should be aware that the sun can greatly increase how drunk or buzzed you feel. If you are pulled over and refuse to take sobriety tests or blow into the breathalyzer then your license will automatically be revoked for a minimum of one year. Some people decide to not blow and fight the case in court, but often don't realize that if they lose the case the penalties will be harsher than if they had cooperated in the first place.
Once charged with boating under the influence you will have some work ahead of you to get back on your feet. Not only is your license going to be suspended, but you are going to most likely be put on some type of probation and be required to check in with a probation officer. Probation can get expensive when you add up all the weekly visits, drug tests, and alcohol related classes you are required to take to complete your probation. You will also be under strict rules from your officer which will include no alcohol, random drug testing, and you will also have a curfew which will require you to be in your home usually no later than 10pm. This means no going out on weekends with friends anymore.
Driving drunk is definitely not something you should be messing around with. Whether you are on a boat or on a jet ski, if you are driving out on the water under the influence and are pulled over you will be arrested. Remember your limits when you are driving a boat. If you want to have more than a few beers, plan on having a designated driver drive your boat home. A BUI is something you want to stay away from. Not only will it affect your life when it happens, but it will also be on your record and can prevent you from job opportunities and more. So next time you take your boat out remember to be safe and keep the drinks to a minimum if you are driving!
Learn more about BUI in the State of Florida: