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Not sure about having one in your hand, but the limits are same as driving a car... you can be arrested for BUI



Under Florida law, is illegal to operate a boat or watercraft while under under the influence of alcohol or drugs. A BUI arrest and prosecution in Florida can result when either the boat operator's normal faculties are impaired due to intoxication from alcohol or drugs or the boat operator's blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is .08%. or higher.

Additionally, Florida has a zero tolerance policy for juveniles, teenagers, or young adults under the age of 21 who operate a vehicle while their normal faculties are impaired due to alcohol intoxication or drug impairment or when the young person has a blood or breath alcohol level of just 0.02%.

Federal law also has a specific federal criminal offense that prohibits boating under the influence or BUI by virtue of a law that took effect on January 13, 1988. Federal BUI arrests are made off the shorelines of Tampa, Florida which is under the jurisdiction of federal authorities.

More commonly, BUI arrests are made closer to the shores of Florida's beaches, or on lakes or rivers throughout Tampa and Hillsborough County, Florida by local law enforcement agencies with the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office.

Reasons BUI Officers May Stop a Boat or Watercraft

Many of these arrests for BUI occur after a law enforcement officers boards a boat in order to check for compliance with boating safety equipment requirements, including ensuring that the boat is properly numbered and documented. BUI enforcement officers may also stop a boat for random inspections for safety registration or equipment checks.

In other cases, the BUI enforcement officer stops the boat after finding probable cause that the vehicle is violating a specific registration or speeding through a waterway. Once the officer suspects that the operator of the boat is under the influence, the officer can request that the boat operator submit to a hand held breath test machine, complete certain ability tests, or submit to a chemical test of his breath, urine or blood.



Prior Record for DUI or BUI and Impact in a Subsequent Case

If you have a prior record for DUI or BUI, the charges and penalties for another case can be enhanced as provided below.

Florida Boating Under the Influence (BUI) Provisions and Penalties

Under Section 327.35 of the Florida Statutes, Boating Under the Influence (BUI) is illegal in the State of Florida. Boating Under the Influence ("BUI") can be proven in one of two alternative ways:

When the person who operated a boat within the State of Florida is under the influence of alcoholic beverages or a chemical substance when affected to the extent that the person's normal faculties are impaired; or

When the person has a blood-alcohol level (BAL) of 0.08 or more grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood; or

When the person has a breath-alcohol level of 0.08 or more grams of alcohol per 210 liters of breath.

If the boat operator has a prior conviction for BUI, DUI, DWI (or any other similar alcohol-related or drug-related offense) in the State of Florida, or in any other state, enhanced penalties apply. A BUI conviction would require the court to impose certain minimum mandatory conditions to the sentence including probation, drug and alcohol substance abuse evaluation and follow up treatment, 50 hours of community service, and a ten day immobilization or impoundment of the boat or vessel.
 

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I got stopped last year and the officer asked me if I knew the law about drinking and driving a boat.. I said I assume the driver isn't allowed to drink while operating the boat and he quickly informed me that it is perfectly legal to drive a boat while drinking. You just cannot be impaired.. so have fun and be safe!
 

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Does anbody know if there is a difference in BUI outside of state waters?

(Personally, I don't understand why boating is so associated with drinking. Things can go so wrong so quick on the water, I don't know why somebody would take the chance.)
 

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catchenbeatsfishen (4/11/2010)

(Personally, I don't understand why boating is so associated with drinking. Things can go so wrong so quick on the water, I don't know why somebody would take the chance.)
+1

I don't drink while on the water, and hate it when people show up to go fishing with a case of beer. When I invite someone to go on an offshore trip on my boat and they bring beer and nothing else (like bait, fishing gear, food,) they don't get invited back. The boat is for fishing, the bar and house are for boozing.

Go on anyfishingboat and take a look at the passengers/crew on the way out. The guys rigging poles, tieing knots, sharpening hooks, preping bait, those are the guys that are going to catch fish. The guys that are popping cold ones before the boat hits the pass are just in the way. Even when I pay to go on a charter I work my ass off to put fish in the boat and do everything that is involved with the trip. Maybe one beer on the ride, but even then you really need to be scrubbing the deck or something.
 

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Although the legal limit is the same for DUI and Bui there is a difference if you get stopped. DUI, you can loose your license if you refuse a test. BUI if you refuse a test it will cost you $500. I know this because I served on a jury a couple of years ago for a BUI trial. The guy refused a field test and later a blow test. It cost him him $500 each time. The guy got of because the FWC officer didn't handle the stop correctly and the prosecutor could not proof the case. Check of court records after the trial, I found the guy had three priors.
 

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wheelin (4/11/2010)if your going to drink and boat let me know when your going i will stay at home that day


Ive never been on a boat inshore where driver is drinking.



I have been on a boat headed way the hell out 30-50 miles out and didn't have a problem with it, in moderation. We never got closer than a few miles from another boat.
 

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There is no open container law on boats. You can be sitting there drinking a beer while stopped by an officer. Impairment is the same as DUI though. > .05 no presumption of impairment, .05 - .08 no presumption either way, .08 < presumption of impairment. This all applies in Florida State waters. USCG has a similar law that applies in federal waters.



Nathan
 

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I got stopped by the coast guard 12 miles offshore. I rarely drink when fishing but I happened to have a beer when we were stopped. They saw the beer it in the cup holder and askedwho's it was. I told them mine (it was m 2nd beer in like3 hours). The first coastie started to tell me thathaving a beer on a boat was like a car (I knew better). Another costie correctedhim to say that there is no open container law on boats but the operator can't be drunk. They checked my saftey gear and my fish (this wasduring the state snapper but not federal snapper time and we were in federal waters). Theydidn't find anything wrong and gave metheir "gold as gold"paper. We went into state waters got our snapper and headed in only to be stopped againby the coast guard in the bay. On the second stop, we justtold them that we had been stopped already offshore and they didn't check us at all.

So I can tell you first hand that you can have a beer in your handwhile driving a boat. Just keep it to A beer (maybe 2):)
 

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Even though you can have a beer while driving the boat I never give them any excuse to suspect I've had a beer while on the boat so I make sure I don't have a beer anywhere near me while driving the boat. My guess is some guys will pull you over for a "safety check" just because they see that the driver has a beer in the cup holder, no need to risk it. I've been stopped a few times to have them check my fish and they never question me about drinking but then again I take it easy when out on the boat and don't get stupid with drinking. There are plenty around that do that's for sure and they keep the various law enforcement guys busy.
 

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A cousin of mine told me that in theAlabama part of Perdido Baythey are taking boat drivers straight to jail if drinking.

Does anybody know ifthis is right?
 

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bamagator (4/12/2010)This thread makes me thirsty.:letsdrink
It makes me want to go boating!!!!! j/kReed i'm glad you brought this up for the guys that like to have 1 or 2beers in a days fishing trip. A lot of people most likely wanted to ask but didn't want to be labled as a drunk. Now the info is out there so good job. I will say this my sister in laws boyfriend who is 220lbs got a DUI a few months ago pulling out of a bar after drinking 1 beer. He blew a .06 off 1 beer so if you have a beer the $500 fine and not taking the test seemsto be the way to go since you would not lose your drivers licence. If they really wanted to put a dent into the drinking and boating issue they would check every boat that pulls anchor at the sand bar and leave us who like our trip back roady alone.
 

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CCC (4/11/2010)At 12pm wheelin enjoy the soaps on t.v. Others thanks for the informative answers.
good one CCC. :clap:clap might just want to sell your boat there Wheelin, them beer's are all around ya. they gonna get ya. :moon
 
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