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State Boating Under the Influence Blood Alcohol Levels

If you operate a fishing boat, sailboat, yacht, personal watercraft, or sailboard, you could be charged with Boating Under the Influence (BUI). Just like driving under the influence (DUI), legal penalties can range from civil fines and the forfeiture of your boating license, to prison time in criminal cases for causing a death while boating under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

The U.S. Guard reports that BUI incidents increase boating fatalities by approximately 34 percent. A rise in alcohol and drug-related boating injuries and fatalities prompted state legislatures to enact BUI laws. This table lays out the various Blood Alcohol Content limits for boating under the influence.

State BAC Level for boater to be itoxicated, by state Minor BAC level? If 'Yes,' the lower BAC level for minor boaters
Alabama 0.08 Yes 0.00%
Alaska 0.08 No  
Arizona 0.08 Yes 0.00%, none allowed
California 0.08 for recreational boat operators; 0.01 for minors under 21; 0.04 for commercial operator Yes 0.01; California, boaters under 21 are not allowed to consume any alcohol at all. A person under 21 with a BAC of .01 percent or more cannot even use water skis. A BAC of .01 percent to .05 percent in a boater under 21 is an infraction, with penalties similar to a traffic ticket.
Colorado 0.10 No  
Connecticut 0.08 adults Yes 0.02 under 21
Delaware 0.08 No  
D.C. 0.08 No  
Florida 0.08  Yes BAC/breath alcohol level of 0.02 or greater
Georgia 0.08 Yes 0.02
Guam 0.08 No  
Hawaii 0.08 Yes 0
Idaho 0.08 No  
Illinois 0.08 No  
Indiana 0.08 Yes Any amount of BAC is a violation of anyone under 21 years old
Iowa 0.08 No  
Kansas 0.08  Yes 0.02
Kentucky 0.08 No  
Louisiana 0.08 Yes BAC under 21 is 0.02
Maine 0.08 Yes BAC under 21, violation for any alcohol in the blood
Maryland 0.08 No  
Massachusetts 0.08 Yes 0.02
Michigan 0.08 No  
Minnesota 0.08 No  
Mississippi 0.1 No  
Missouri 0.1 No  
Montana 0.08 No  
Nebraska 0.08 No  
Nevada 0.08 No  
New Hampshire 0.08 or higher by blood, breath, or urine; or between .03 and .08 along with other evidence Yes .02 under 21 years old
New Jersey 0.08 No  
New Mexico 0.08 No  
New York 0.08 for adults; .04 for commercial operators; 0.02 under 21 years old Yes .02 under 21 years old
North Carolina .08 BAC No  
North Dakota .1 No  
Ohio 0.08 or more BAC Yes .02 BAC under 21 years old
Oklahoma 0.1 No  
Oregon 0.08 BAC No  
Pennsylvania 0.08 Yes 0.02
Rhode Island 0.08 No  
South Carolina 0.08 No  
South Dakota 0.08 No  
Tennessee 0.08 No  
Texas 0.08 No  
Utah 0.08 Yes 0.01
Vermont 0.08 Yes .02 under 21 years old
Virginia 0.08 Yes .02 under 21 years old
Washington 0.08 No  
West Virginia 0.08 No  
Wisconsin 0.08 Yes 0.01
Wyoming .1 No  

How BAC is Measured 

A defendant's BAC level will be determined through one of three methods. The most common of these methods involves analyzing the defendant's breath. Other tests examine the defendant's blood or urine. Refinements in the methods by which a defendant's BAC is determined have strengthened the ability of prosecutors to prove this BAC. However, these tests are not above reproach, and skilled defense attorneys can often successfully attack the methods by which the defendant's BAC was analyzed.

What are the BUI Blood Alcohol Limits in Your State? Talk to a Lawyer

One minute you're sipping your third beer while cruising across the lake on a gorgeous summer day; the next, you're in handcuffs on a police boat. Boating under the influence of alcohol or other drugs can be just as dangerous as driving drunk, and the laws reflect this. Learn more about your charges and suggested first steps by meeting with a DUI attorney today.

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