Florida has implied consent laws pertaining to drunk driving. Those laws also apply to anyone operating a boat or vessel.
What are the laws for individuals operating boats?
People who operate boats or vessels are subject to the same laws as those involving drivers of regular vehicles. They must not be under the influence of alcohol or drugs because drinking while operating a boat can pose just as high a risk of danger to others on the water as a drunk driver does to others on the road. When a person operates a boat while under the influence, it can impair their judgment, reaction time and coordination and cause an accident.
Implied consent laws mean that a person operating a boat or vessel knows they are supposed to be sober while doing so. By law, if a person is suspected of being intoxicated, a police officer could require them to take a breath test to determine if that is indeed the case.
What’s considered under the influence while boating?
Adults 21 and older who operate a boat or vessel are considered intoxicated when their blood alcohol concentration, or BAC, is 0.08 or higher. If the person operating the boat is younger than 21, they can be arrested for DUI if their BAC is over 0.02.
A conviction for a first offense of operating a boat or vessel under the influence may result in up to six months in county jail and a fine of up to $1,000. If the person has any prior convictions, they can face harsher penalties.
Individuals who are convicted of boating under the influence may also have their boating privileges revoked. The court often places such offenders on monthly probation and requires educational safety courses to be completed. In some cases, the person may also be ordered to enter substance use disorder courses.
The best way to avoid getting arrested for boating under the influence is to avoid consuming alcohol while operating a boat or vessel. A person who has been charged with drunk driving may want to mount a defense to avoid a conviction.