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Can you get a DUI on a tube or a raft?

In South Carolina, one of the things people love to do every summer is to get out their inner tubes and rafts and float down the rivers. This is a relaxing way to spend a hot summer afternoon, and it can really be a relief from the heat.

You may be thinking that another way to cool off would be to drink a nice cold beer while you're tubing or rafting, but you know that you can get a DUI for using a boat while under the influence of alcohol. Can you also get one when you're on a non-powered watercraft, like a tube?

In short, you are allowed to drink on a tube or a raft, and you won't get a DUI. The laws in South Carolina are written for watercraft, and those are defined as vehicles that move under the power of the wind or the power of a motor. If you're in charge of these larger vehicles, you need to be sober just like you would be behind the wheel of a car.

However, in the definitions listed along with the laws, the documents specifically state that a tube or a raft does not count as a watercraft. Therefore, these are exempt from the following laws and you are allowed to drink while using them. This also goes for water skis, surfboards, boards for windsurfing and anything similar.

If you've been told differently by the authorities and issued a DUI even though you were not using a watercraft, it's important for you to look into all of your legal options.

Source: South Carolina State Legislature, "Title 50 - Fish, Game and Watercraft," accessed June 11, 2015

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