Boating under the Influence Guide

by Veronica Jeans May 12, 2017

BUI is just as deadly as drinking and driving!

Did you know:

  • A boat operator is likely to become impaired more quickly than a driver, drink for drink?
  • The penalties for BUI can include large fines, revocation of operator privileges and serious jail terms?
  • The use of alcohol is involved in about a third of all recreational boating fatalities?

Every boater needs to understand the risks of boating under the influence of alcohol or drugs (BUI). It is illegal to operate a boat while under the influence of alcohol or drugs in every state. The Coast Guard also enforces a federal law that prohibits BUI. This law pertains to ALL boats (from canoes and rowboats to the largest ships)  and includes foreign vessels that operate in U.S. waters, as well as U.S. vessels on the high seas.

(United Coast Guard)

BUI: Don't be that guy!

No one thinks twice these days about drinking and driving – why should drinking and boating be any different?

(US Coast Guard Blog)


(Guide courtesy of The Olive Law Firm)

Tips for Avoiding BUI

Boating, fishing and other water sports are fun in their own right. Alcohol can turn a great day on the water into the tragedy of a lifetime.

Consider these alternatives to using alcohol while afloat:

  • Take along a variety of cool drinks, such as sodas, water, iced tea, lemonade or non-alcoholic beer.

  • Bring plenty of food and snacks.

  • Wear clothes that will help keep you and your passengers cool.

  • Plan to limit your trip to a reasonable time to avoid fatigue. Remember that it's common to become tired more quickly on the water.

  • If you want to make alcohol part of your day's entertainment, plan to have a party ashore at the dock, in a picnic area, at a boating club, or in your backyard. Choose a location where you'll have time between the fun and getting back into your car or boat.

  • If you dock somewhere for lunch or dinner and drink alcohol with your meal, wait a reasonable time (estimated at a minimum of an hour per drink) before operating your boat.

  • Having no alcohol while aboard is the safest way to enjoy the water intoxicated passengers are also at risk of injury and falls overboard.

  • Spread the word on the dangers of BUI. Many recreational boaters forget that a boat is a vehicle - and that safe operation is a legal and personal responsibility.

(United Coast Guard)

Memorial weekend is coming up and we really want to make sure you have a great SAFE weekend!

Veronica Jeans
Veronica Jeans


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