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Can I get a DUI on my boat?

Boating Under the Influence

Boaters out drinking and driving or sailing on Lake Murray or Lake Wateree can be arrested for BUI, or boating under the influence. Boaters and sailors are subject to the same implied consent, as if they were drinking and driving on the road.

South Carolina Department of Natural Resources does not list the boating and alcohol laws among its boating regulations. Boaters beware: You can be arrested for boating, sailing, or simply being in control of your boat while under the influence.

Penalties for BUI include:

  • jail time,
  • alcohol education programs, such as ADSAP,
  • community service,
  • job loss, and
  • suspension from operating a water vehicle for up to 2 years.

Boaters who have a blood alcohol of .08 or more are presumed to be intoxicated.

However, boaters or sailors who have a blood alcohol level between .05 and .08 may be convicted for boating under the influence when deemed intoxicated based upon other tests such as a field sobriety test.

Your operation of a boat or other water device on the waters of South Carolina shows your consent to submit to chemical testing to determine your blood alcohol content.

A charge of boating under the influence is subject to the same potential defenses and arguments as those of DUI.



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