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Boating Under the Influence

June 28, 2019

Woman drinking under the influence on a boat.

Laws on the road are heavily enforced in order to decrease accidents and fatalities due to drivers who are under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. But are you aware that you can get a DUI (or rather, BUI) in the water? Boating Under the Influence is a criminal offense and here’s what you need to know about it. You may be off the road, but you’re not exempt from the law.

It’s a Common Occurrence

Approximately half of all boating accidents in the U.S. are due to an operator being under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Some people may think that standards for operating a boat differ from operating a car because there’s an open body of water to maneuver about, but this is definitely not the case. Boating under the influence is not to be taken lightly. 

The Boating Under the Influence Law is Enforced

Just like there are checkpoints on the road, there are checkpoints in the water. Law enforcement officials can pull you over, and depending on what state you are operating your boat in, you could be subject to a breathalyzer test, blood test, or field sobriety test.  

Be Aware, Especially Around the Holidays 

During celebratory holidays such as Memorial Day and Independence Day, the likelihood of BUI’s increase. More people are spending time on the water, wanting to relax. Drinking typically becomes a part of their celebrations. As a boat operator, know that it’s your responsibility to safely maneuver the waters in a sober state. In addition to this, practice defensive boating, as you don’t know if others have been following the law. 

BUI Laws in Tennessee

The penalties for boating under the influence in Tennessee are not cheap. If you receive a BUI, you could be fined up to $5,000, as well as sentenced to jail, depending on the severity of the situation. When you’re boating under the influence, you’re putting yourself and others in danger. Remember the consequences and don’t drink and operate a boat.

Contact a Lebanon TN Attorney

To learn more about BUI laws in Tennessee, visit Boat Tennessee Course. And if you’re in need representation due to a BUI, contact Hagar & Phillips PLLC. Our legal team is ready to discuss your case and your legal options.


The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. We invite you to contact us and welcome your calls, letters and electronic mail. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send any confidential information to us until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established.