Informational Website

Boating Under The Influence

Driving under the influence is a problem that plagues our nation’s roads. Everyone knows that drinking and driving causes a large number of traffic accident fatalities.

But when you are out on the lake and relaxing, drinking may not seem like an issue. You are out to have a good time, right? Drinking a few beers is all a part of having fun while enjoying the water and sunshine.

The Dangers Of Boating Under The Influence

Boating Under the Influence (BUI) is a big deal. Someone operating a boat with a Blood Alcohol Content (or BAC) of over .08% is 10 times more likely to die in a boating accident than someone driving a boat while sober.

BUI is responsible for approximately 34 percent of fatal boat accidents every year.

You may not be aware of it, but the boat’s motion, vibration and engine noise as well as sun, wind and spray all make the effects of alcohol and drugs seem more intense. These conditions all add up to a dangerous drinking and boating experience.

Even if you are just taking prescription medications, such as for heart or blood pressure, you may be affected by the outdoor weather conditions.

There are many skills necessary to operate a boat that are affected after drinking or taking drugs. These include:

    • Peripheral Vision
    • Night Vision
    • Focus
    • Ability to Distinguish Colors
    • Cognitive Abilities
    • Judgment
    • Balance
    • Coordination
    • Reaction Time

Your inner ear can also be affected. This will make it harder for you to tell which way is up or which way is down if you fall in the water.

Boating Under the Influence is very similar to a DUI. Law enforcement officials will look for someone who is driving a boat erratically. The operator will also be asked to perform field sobriety tests and to take a chemical test.

BUI Penalties

It is also important to know that if you are charged for boating under the influence you will be subject to the same penalties as someone who is charged with operating a car under the influence. These punishments include:

• Driver’s License Suspension or Revocation
• Fines
• Jail Time
• Probation
• And More

So when you are out on the boat, be careful. Enjoy the water and leave the alcohol at home.

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