When we think about driving under the influence (DUI), we most often think of driving something on the road. However, there is another way in which a driver can be charged with DUI. It is known as boating under the influence, or BUI. These violations are on a steady rise with a direct correlation to an increase in boating fatalities. Warm weather holidays such as Memorial Day, Fourth of July, and Labor Day tend to increase the number of intoxicated boaters on the water, and therefore increase water accidents.
According to the U.S. Coast Guard, “alcohol is more hazardous on water than on land.” It is believed that over half of all boating accidents involve alcohol or drugs. Boating carries additional factors that contribute to intoxication- sun, wind, motion of the boat, heat, noise can all cause a person to become much more intoxicated than expected, much quicker.
BUI checkpoints are set up on the water, just as DUI checkpoints are on the road. These will check operators for required licenses, as well as look for any signs of intoxication. If charged with boating under the influence, a person can face serious consequences that may include both civil and criminal charges. A commercial boat operator who is charged with BUI and has their license revoked would stand to lose their ability to earn a living. They may even no longer be able to obtain insurance for their vessel.
If you have been charged with boating under the influence, consult with an attorney to discuss your options. Just the same as DUI, you will need someone on your side who knows the boating laws of the state, and can make sure your rights are protected.