September 4, 2009, Newsletter Issue #182: What is Not Considered Boating Under the Influence

Tip of the Week

Boating while intoxicated can be a serious offense, especially if injuries or property damage come as a result. Laws vary from state to state, but many states are in agreement on what does not constitute a violation of regulations. Watercraft that may be defined as being propelled by "water alone" are often exempt from these laws.

A kayak is an excellent example of the type of craft exempt from boating while intoxicated laws. There are many other vehicles and water accessories which are indeed regulated, including water skis and jet skis. If the craft has any kind of motor at all, it falls under the jurisdiction of the BUI laws.

Remember that the real danger of combining alcohol and watercraft, regardless of boating under the influence rules, is safety. You may feel your kayaking or rafting skills are up to the challenge, but alcohol seriously decreases your safety margin. It is very easy to miscalculate obstacles, safe swimming distances, and navigation markers while under the influence.

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