By Brianna Dungan and Harrison Sarner, THELAW.TV
Everyone knows that driving a car while intoxicated can land you in jail. But did you know that operating a boat under the influence of alcohol can get you arrested too? While you may not know the laws regarding Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) on the water and when you can legally operate a boat, law enforcement does, and they will be on the lookout this July 4th holiday weekend for boaters under the influence (BUI).
Laws vary from state to state, 47 out of 50 states have BAC limits of 0.08% when operating a water vessel. Michigan, North Dakota, and Wyoming adhere to 0.1%.
Boating under the influence is a big deal. Alcohol use is the leading contributing factor in fatal boating accidents, according to the U.S. Coast Guard. It was the main factor in 17% of the 651 deaths involving registered recreational vehicles in 2012.
If you're under 21, drinking alcohol is illegal. In Alabama, Arizona, Hawaii, Indiana, Maine, Utah, and Wisconsin minors are not allowed to register a BAC higher than 0.00%, if operating a boat or other water vessel. However, California is one of the exceptions, allowing minors to consume alcohol of up to a 0.01% BAC level, but after that, you're not allowed to drive your boat or even use your own water skis.
According to the U.S. Coast Guard, "people operating a boat with a BAC of over .08% are 10 times more likely to die in a boating accident than someone driving a boat while sober." So whether you'll be hitting the road or water this holiday weekend, be responsible when drinking.
To learn about the BUI laws in your state, BoatingUndertheInfluence.org has a chart documenting all 50 states and their current legal BAC levels.
PAID ATTORNEY ADVERTISEMENT. This website contains attorney advertising. The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely upon advertisements. THELAW.TV, LLC and our media partner, Berkshire Hathaway, and its parent company and subsidiaries, are not law firms. THELAW.TV is an advertising platform for lawyers. THELAW.TV is not a lawyer referral service or prepaid legal service plan. The sole basis for inclusion of the participating lawyers or law firms is the payment of a flat fee. THELAW.TV and our media partner, Berkshire Hathaway, and its parent company and subsidiaries, do not endorse or recommend any lawyer or law firm who appears on this website. THELAW.TV, LLC and our media partner, Berkshire Hathaway, and its parent company and subsidiaries, do not make any judgments as to the qualification, expertise, or credentials of any participating lawyer, other than to ensure that the lawyer is licensed to practice in their state and is currently a member in good standing of their state bar. No representation is made that the quality of the legal services to be performed is greater than the quality of legal services performed by other lawyers. THELAW.TV, LLC and our media partner, Berkshire Hathaway, and its parent company and subsidiaries, provide information designed to help the public better understand the law and the legal process. But legal information is not the same as legal advice, which is the application of law to an individual's specific circumstances. THELAW.TV, LLC and our media partner, Berkshire Hathaway, and its parent company and subsidiaries, do not represent and/or endorse the accuracy or reliability of any information or advice contained in, distributed through, or linked, downloaded, or accessed from any of the materials contained on this website. The legal Q&A videos are informational only and are not intended to provide legal advice. Please consult a lawyer regarding your specific situation. We recommend you consult a lawyer if you want professional assurance that the lawyer's information, and your interpretation of it, is appropriate to your particular situation. You hereby acknowledge that any reliance upon the materials herein shall be at your own risk. Any information you submit to THELAW.TV may not be protected by attorney-client privilege. Thank you.
PLEASE READ THESE TERMS AND CONDITIONS CAREFULLY BEFORE USING THELAW.TV. This site and all content, information and services accessible through it ("THELAW.TV") is made available by THELAW.TV, a Florida LLC, ("THELAW.TV"), and may be used only under the following terms and conditions. BY ACCESSING AND USING THELAW.TV, YOU ("User") AGREE TO BE LEGALLY BOUND BY THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS SET FORTH HEREIN (the "Agreement"). - See more at: http://thelaw.tv/miami/About/disclaimer#sthash.BKSoHKgu.dpuf