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Boating And Alcohol: What You Need To Know

There is nothing better than a Saturday on the lake, enjoying great outdoors with your favorite friends on a motorboat or sailboat.

While it is certainly a lot of fun to have a drink out on the water, you have to remember to be responsible and never pilot a watercraft while intoxicated. Not only is it extremely dangerous to operate a watercraft while you are drunk, but under Sections 50-21-112 of South Carolina state law, boating while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is highly illegal.

Police are constantly patrolling South Carolina's waterways in search of boating enthusiasts who might be operating their watercraft drunk. Also, if a boating accident occurs, police will usually try to determine of the pilot at the helm was intoxicated at the time of the crash. The efforts of law enforcement in this regard certainly help to keep our waterways safe, but police are human and sometimes, they make mistakes. In fact, it is not uncommon for the pilot of a watercraft to be wrongly accused of intoxicated boating -- even if he or she did not drink a drop the entire day. If alcohol was present on the boat at the time of the arrest, it could complicate things and make it even harder to defend yourself against such charges, even if the charges are false.

Penalties for first offense boating under the influence are usually $200, or you could be put in jail for up to 48 hours. A second offense could cost between $2,000 and $5,000 and a prison sentence of up to a year. The issue becomes even more complicated if your BUI arrest is associated injurious or fatal accident, because a BUI conviction could increase your liability for personal injury or wrongful death damages in civil court.

At the Drennan Law Firm, we represent South Carolina residents accused of boating while intoxicated no matter the circumstances surrounding the arrest. If you have been charged with BUI, we are available to talk to you about your case in a free, no-obligation initial consultation.

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