Washington State has just enacted a new boating under the influence (BUI) law that substantially increases penalties for operating a boat while intoxicated.
- BUI is now a gross misdeameanor, rather than simply a misdemeanor.
- Penalties for BUI are now up to a $5000 fine and/or 364 days in jail
- If an officer with probable cause requests a breath test, boaters must agree or they may be subject to a $1000 fine.
- Operating a vessel while under the influence of marijuana in excess of 5 nanograms per milliliter is illegal
Operating a boat while intoxicated is hazardous and should be avoided. Remember, too, that even when at anchor, changing conditions may require you to quickly move your vessel. Prudent mariners should maintain situational awareness whenever they are aboard their vessel.