What is a BUI?
BUI is an acronym for Boating Under the Influence. BUI is a crime punishable by law in all US states. In the US, it is required by federal law to check boat operators and everyone on board for blood alcohol content using a breathalyzer. State authorities, just like traffic police, have the liberty of pulling over a suspect boat. As is the case with DUI, for persons 21 or over, the legal blood alcohol limit is 0.08% with the exception of Colorado, North Dakota and Wyoming where the limit stands at 0.10%. The BUI penalties for each state vary. Penalties could result in monetary fines, imprisonment or boating privileges and license being revoked. State laws require BUI checkpoints to be appointed in designated areas.
Hiring a Captain (sober one)
In order to avoid facing charges, it is advised to be accompanied by a certified professional when under influence. The boat operator needs to be a sober, alert and responsible individual. The operator is in charge of monitoring the vessel and checking it for maintenance. They are also responsible for ensuring observance of precautionary measures by the passengers.
In case the boat operator is under suspicion of intoxication and refuses to take the breathalyzer test, they can be fined up to $2,050. A one-time penalty can result in their boating license being revoked. Consequences can be direr if the offense is repeated or is accompanied by other minor offenses including driving with minors on board or supplying alcohol to the latter.
Captain Morgan paid a lot in Boat Insurance
This can especially affect an individual for whom boating is a means of income, such as commercial boat operators. Furthermore, it can negatively impact their boat insurance rate. BUI convictions can lead to a jail sentence or alcohol counseling, further causing infamy within their community or forfeiture of civilian rights such as voting.
According to recreational boat statistics, the USCG (United States Coast Guard), intoxication was the leading cause of 21% of all boating fatalities in 2014; others being lack of technical expertise. The fine limit can be up to $5,000 with a year in jail. Other than alcohol content, boating under the influence of drugs such as marijuana (the legal limit for which is 5.0 nanograms), is punishable by law.
Laws help us make us safe
Boat laws apply to all means of transport on water, mechanical or motorized; whether used for recreational, sport or simply conveyance purposes. These include kayaks, canoes, rafts, yachts, fishing boats or sailboats.
State laws require civilians to follow certain precautionary measures regarding boat safety. Since statistics show a surge in boating accidents during holidays and summer time, it is advised to avoid recreational boating activities at these particular times. It is also advised that if one intends to travel to another state or outside of the US (to Canada, for example), it is important to educate oneself about the boating regulations, specifically, the BUI laws of that area. Lastly, it is crucial for everyone on board, especially children, to wear life vests. Once arrested for BUI, one should consult an attorney with expertise in the field of DUI or BUI to handle the case. It is important to choose a good lawyer to avoid any long-term penalties.