DUI on a Boat or Raft?

Can you get a DUI while operating a boat or raft? Depending on how you understand the DUI laws as applied to cars and trucks, the answer might just surprise you to an extraordinary degree. When it comes to something like operating a boat or raft, you definitely want to understand how the DUI laws might impact you.

Can I Get A DUI On a Boat or Raft in California?

To begin with, understand that the DUI laws are not limited solely to cars and trucks. This is a great misconception about DUI laws and boats or rafts that can get you in serious trouble. According to Santa Cruz DUI Defense Attorney, as far as the state of California is concerned, the DUI laws for cars, trucks, and motorcycles can also be applied to boats and other aquatic vehicles.


Obviously, the DUI laws as they apply to boats and rafts are going to change the language a little bit. If you are operating something like a motorboat in the state of California, and you receive a charge of operating under the influence, you will likely be charged with what is known as a BUI. This would also be referred to as boating under the influence.

To reiterate: Yes, operating a motorboat under the influence can net serious consequences in California. However, as you can no doubt imagine, there is a good deal more to this subject that you need to keep in mind.

Are BUI Laws in California Heavily Enforced

Remember that California BUI laws are not the laws of the whole United States. The BUI laws can vary from one state to the next, although most states operate within similar standards. At the same time, you will note that some states are stricter than others.

For example, in South Carolina, tubes and rafts are not regarded in the same category of vehicles as boats. In other words, BUI laws do not apply to tubes and rafts in South Carolina, and you are free to drink alcohol while operating them. Waterskies, surfboards, and windsurfing boards are all examples of boards that would qualify as a tube or raft.

But that’s South Carolina. As we mentioned before, it is important to remember that the rules for California are their own entity. Waterways in popular California destinations are regularly patrolled by the local sheriffs and other law enforcement elements/departments. In other words, it is not going to be a good idea to take any changes against drinking, operating a vehicle, and escaping from the law. Law enforcement is out in abundance looking for those who are driving a boat impaired.

For specific wording on the BUI laws that you will want to be aware of in California, you will want to turn to the Harbor and Navigation Code 655. You will find five provisions within that passage that will make the laws regarding boating under the influence in California very clear to you.

Furthermore, keep in mind that there are over one hundred and fifty law enforcement agencies in the state that are currently enforcing the boating laws of the state of California.

In Conclusion

Even moderate drinking can substantially limit your ability to operate a motorboat properly. As you consider this fact, keep in mind a few more tidbits on BUI laws in California, BUI consequences in California, and much more:

• Studies indicate that alcohol contributes to roughly twenty-five percent of all motorboat-related fatalities.
• Remember that alcohol does not follow traditional digestive patterns. To put in more direct terms, understand that the total number of drinks you consume is how long it is going to take you to return to legal sobriety.
• You can impair your ability to operate a motorboat at .035%.
• One drink is defined as 12 oz. beer=4 oz. wine=1 1/4 oz. eighty-proof liquor.
• More than eighty percent of those who die in alcohol-related motorboat accidents are people who fell over and drowned.
• Operating a vehicle while under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol can carry stiff punishments. You can find yourself facing a year in county jail, a fine of no more than one thousand dollars, or even both of these things.

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