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You Got Arrested for What?! Boating Under the Influence.


It's August in Seattle, and locals are taking advantage of the desperately-missed summer weather. We do things like power-walk around Green Lake, order ridiculously long-titled iced coffee drinks, and finally take the socks off when we wear sandals. (If you don't know about these Seattleite stereotypes, you're missing out. You can find them at ( The other thing that happens in the Emerald City during the summertime is the crime of Boating Under The Influence (BUI). With so many bodies of water around this beautiful city, and especially with Seafair in full swing, (, it's hard to not have a few cold brews while taking the boat out for a spin.

When someone is navigating a vessel, they are obviously operating a motorized vehicle, and can be charged with a crime if they are under the influence while operating that vessel. In Washington State, "under the influence" is defined by a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08% or higher. Although boating under the influence is determined by blood alcohol content the same way that driving under the influence is, it does not carry mandatory penalties. Boating under the influence is a misdemeanor that can result in 90 days of jail time and/or a $1,000.00 fine. Additionally, the United States Coast Guard may become involved. Negligent boating, reckless boating, and boating under the influence may put you in a civil administrative hearing held by the US Coast Guard. This is where you would learn the fate of your future party cruises.

Have a great time out on the water this summer. Just remember about "BUI" the next time you are out on the water tapping that keg. And as always, have the business card of a great attorney. Just in case.

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