FAQs about Boating Under the Influence (BUI)

Who is responsible for enforcing BUI laws?

The Coast Guard enforces the BUI laws in cooperation with state agencies. BUI laws on rivers and water bodies that are overseen exclusively by states are enforced by the state agencies.

How do the agencies enforce BUI laws?

If the Coast Guard or the state agency officers suspect any boat operator or someone operating a watercraft to be intoxicated, they can pull over the person and check to see if he or she is indeed intoxicated. The agencies also set up BUI check points. These are similar to the DUI/DWI roadside check points.

Is the blood alcohol concentration different for BUI?

Each state has its own BUI laws that specify the minimum blood alcohol concentration requirements for a BUI offense. In most states, it is 0.08 percent. In some, it is 0.10 percent. However,  you can still be charged with DUI even if your blood alcohol concentration is less than the 0.08 percent if you are deemed intoxicated based on the results of field sobriety tests. Many states have zero tolerance laws for underage BUI.

Do the agencies use any tests similar to the Field Sobriety Tests for BUI?

The officer may ask you to perform certain operations with your boat or water craft to determine if you are sober enough to operate the boat or watercraft.

Is it ok to refuse a breath analyzer or chemical test?

It will depend on your state law. You may be entitled to refuse the tests but in some states a refusal will result in suspension of your boating license.

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