Whether you enjoy heading out on the water for a day in the sun or prefer to stay along the coast while you fish, boating is a lot of fun. Many people head out with beers or other alcohol, but that’s not always a good idea. If you drink too much, you can still be accused of a DUI and end up with a BUI for boating under the influence.
Boating under the influence can have some of the same harsh penalties as driving under the influence. Here’s a little bit about what you should know about a BUI in Texas.
Boating while intoxicated: Penalties
Texas has always been hard on people who drink and drive, and boating while intoxicated is no exception. Texan law prohibits anyone from driving a vessel when he or she is intoxicated with drugs or alcohol.
This doesn’t just apply to motor boats, either. You can receive a BUI if you’re drunk in a sailboat, on water skis, personal water craft or in a canoe or kayak. Any kind of vessel falls under BUI laws.
When you have a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent or higher, then you are considered intoxicated and may face penalties. Penalties may include fines of up to $2,000 on a first conviction and jail time of up to 180 days. For second offenses, you face fines of up to $4,000, while third convictions have fines of up to $10,000. With a second offense, you face jail time of up to a year, while third offenses come with a possible jail sentence of two to 10 years.
On top of fines and the potential for jail time, you may lose your driver’s license for up to 180 days.
Why are there penalties for driving a boat while intoxicated?
While it may seem like there is no risk in driving a boat while intoxicated, there is. You could hit another vessel or crash yourself, leading to your boat sinking or capsizing. In any case, there is a high risk of injury and the potential for deaths to take place.
With just a blood alcohol concentration of 0.05 percent, which is within the legal limit, you lose coordination and eye movement control, which makes it harder to judge what you need to do to keep your vehicle safe on the water. Avoid penalties this summer by skipping the alcohol when you’re on the water.