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There are some obvious behaviors to signal an intoxicated boater. Once impaired by alcohol, boat captains often go too fast for the waterway, turn aggressively, and forget to turn on running lights and other required nighttime equipment. Sound familiar? These are many of the reasons alcohol is banned in connection with driving.
Across the 50 states, law enforcement officials are trained to look for these telltale signs of intoxication and motor vehicle use. On the water it's no different, with the major exception being that the safety factor is far lower.
In some states, boating under the influence charges may be reduced or dismissed in certain circumstances if the defendant is eligible for a "misdemeanor diversion program". However, these kinds of second chance programs aren't needed for those who simply obey the rules. If you aren't intoxicated, chances are you won't attract the attention of the police so long as you operate with the required gear and at the appropriate speeds.