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Is boating while intoxicated illegal?

On Behalf of | Sep 27, 2023 | Criminal Defense |

Boating is one of the more popular forms of recreation in Texas, both in the Gulf of Mexico and in any of the many lakes in the state. And in many cases, boating is associated with partying and drinking.

It’s important to know that boating while intoxicated is treated very similarly to drunk driving. Many of the same rules and penalties apply to those who operate boats while inebriated.

What is boating while intoxicated?

Just like driving while intoxicated is defined as operating a motor vehicle while having a blood alcohol content of 0.08 or higher, the same is true of boating while intoxicated. Note that this only applies to the operator of the boat, and it’s not illegal to be inebriated as a passenger.

The penalties for boating while inebriated largely mirror DWI penalties. If you’re convicted of boating while intoxicated, you face fines, potential jail time and a loss of your boating license. You may also be required to enter a substance abuse program, and you can possibly have your boat impounded.

Boating while intoxicated doesn’t just apply to boats with motors. Even small crafts like canoes, rowboats or kayaks can be the vehicle for a boating while intoxicated charge.

The dangers of boating while intoxicated

Boating while intoxicated poses significant dangers. Boaters must contend with multiple factors like tides, currents and submerged obstacles. Unlike driving, where there are traffic demarcations and clearly defined roads, boaters drive on open water. When intoxicated, boaters can drive too fast, and this can result into crashes that cause bodily injury or death. Not to mention, boaters can get lost because there are no clear roads to follow. With all these factors at play, those who operate boats while intoxicated are considerably more likely to encounter a mishap or accident than sober boaters.

If you want to have a party on the boat where there will be drinking, have a designated driver who does not plan to consume alcohol. Taking such measures will keep you and others safe, and you will not incur alcohol-related charges.