Everyone is aware of the dangers of drinking and driving a vehicle on the roadways, and everyone is familiar with the Washington DUI law. Did you know it is illegal to operate a boat under the influence of intoxicants? There is a Washington Boating Under the Influence law, making it a crime to operate a boat or other watercraft with alcohol in your system. This crime is also known as BUI.
Annual boating statistics illustrate that alcohol consumption is a contributing factor in 60% of boating accidents that end in a fatality. The Washington State Legislature criminalized drunk boating in RCW 79A.60.040 to protect the community and reduce boating accidents. Below is a portion of that law:
(1) It shall be unlawful for any person to operate a vessel in a reckless manner.
(2) It shall be a violation for a person to operate a vessel while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug. A person is considered to be under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug if:
(a) The person has 0.08 grams or more of alcohol per two hundred ten liters of breath, as shown by analysis of the person’s breath made under RCW 46.61.506; or
(b) The person has 0.08 percent or more by weight of alcohol in the person’s blood, as shown by analysis of the person’s blood made under RCW 46.61.506; or
(c) The person is under the influence of or affected by intoxicating liquor or any drug; or
(d) The person is under the combined influence of or affected by intoxicating liquor and any drug.
A Washington BUI is a simple misdemeanor and carries a maximum penalty of 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.
While generally a Washington BUI is not as serious of a crime as DUI, it can have similar consequences, including alcohol evaluation, treatment, community service, work crew, fines and jail. But there are no mandatory penalties for a BUI in Washington State, and with the right advice and help, it may be possible to keep a BUI charge off of your record completely.