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The Coast Guard has an agreement with state and local authorities to cooperate with enforcement of boating while intoxicated laws. If a Coast Guard vessel intercepts someone boating under the influence, they have the authority to detain and redirect the vessel in question.
Redirecting means that if a vessel is "pulled over" by the Coast Guard, the vessel can be taken to mooring by someone considered competent to operate the vessel. This can be one of the passengers, but more likely is a Coast Guard member being ordered to take charge of the vessel.
California boating under the influence laws (as well as many other states) dictate that the Coast Guard detain the operator in most cases until law enforcement can pick up the offender. This can take many hours depending on caseload for local law enforcement! Boating under the influence is regulated by such inter-agency cooperation in many states. The inconvenience, penalties, and embarrassment connected with being found boating under the influence is simply not worth the risk.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|