You can get a DUI on a boat, and for operating other vehicles like bicycles, golf carts, and ATVs while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Even worse, your actions while operating one of these vehicles can impact your driver’s license and ability to drive your regular vehicle. A DUI conviction for boating under the influence (sometimes called BUI) can result in a suspension or revocation of your driver’s license.
In many cases, those convicted will have to install an ignition interlock device on their car, as a condition of their suspension or in order to regain driving privileges. Even though the offense took place on a boat, offenders can still lose the right to drive.
Ignition interlock devices (IID) help prevent drunk driving by requiring users to take a breath test before starting your car. The IID is sometimes called a car breathalyzer, and it tests for Breath Alcohol Content (BrAC). If a driver’s BrAC is over the allowed limit (far lower than the legal BAC limit) the car will not start. They will only be able to start the vehicle once their BrAC is under the limit.
Drivers are responsible for the cost and upkeep of their ignition interlock device too, so there is a financial and time commitment along with the other consequences. Some boaters may not consider this when they decide to steer their craft while under the influence.
How Can I Avoid Getting a Conviction for DUI on a Boat?
No one wants their fun day at sea spoiled by getting arrested or interrogated by law enforcement. Most bodies of water are patrolled either by local law enforcement, the US Coast Guard, or state maritime officials. To stay safe and avoid having your boat boarded by officials, try following the tips below:
- Have a designated “sober sailor” — driving a boat is a special skill, and not everyone is comfortable with it. Make sure that if you’re inviting other people on board, one of you is prepared to stay sober and man the wheel while you’re at sea.
- Drink after docking — of course, part of the fun of having a boat is going out to sea, no matter where you’re docked normally. Taking family and friends out for a day on the water is fun, and you can definitely take your time and enjoy being out on the water. However, if you’re planning on drinking, maybe plan your day so you can dock for a few hours before going home. That way, you can enjoy the water and the party without being at risk.
- Stay hydrated — Hydrate regularly with water. The heat and sunlight can cause your body to become dehydrated, and drinking alcohol can exacerbate this. Sun poisoning and dehydration can also impact your driving, even while sober. Staying hydrated can keep you safe.
- Plan ahead — mistakes can happen. Maybe you accidentally drank a hard seltzer, or are feeling the effects of a single beer more than you anticipated. Have an emergency plan in place in case you don’t feel well enough to drive. This might involve having a backup designated driver, or calling for help. Whatever you do, make sure you’re ready in case you’re unable to steer the boat safely.
I Got a DUI on a Boat. Now What?
If you’ve been arrested for DUI on a boat, there are a few things you must do. Intoxalock can help with next steps if you’re not sure what to do first.
- Contact an attorney — an attorney can help make sure your interests are represented in any court proceeding. They are used to court processes and procedures and can guide you through the process to make sure you understand what is happening. Intoxalock partners with many attorneys who specialize in DUI cases, and our state specialists can help you find someone in your local area.
- Make an ignition interlock device installation appointment — many states require ignition interlock devices (IIDs) for drivers after a DUI offense. You will need to return to your installation location on a regular basis for calibration, so be sure to select a convenient location. An Intoxalock state specialist can help.
- Set up your Intoxalock account — the technicians will go over how to use an IID with you, and make sure you understand before you drive away. You will also need to set up your Intoxalock account online. You can pay via the website or the app to stay updated easily. Customer support is available 24/7 if you need assistance with your account at any time.
Many states will allow you to regain driving privileges if you install an ignition interlock, but you may be limited to driving only to school, work, medical treatments, and other necessary appointments.
Still have questions? Contact Intoxalock at 833-623-0200 or fill out the form to get started on the IID process.