There’s one sure-fire way to avoid the majority of boating under the influence charges in South Carolina: Don’t operate a boat while or after drinking alcohol or taking intoxicating substances.
Now that we have this out of the way, we can look at the reality of the usual situations that can occur while you are riding on a boat with friends.
Common recreational boating problems
The biggest safety problem related to recreational boating is the fact that people enjoy boating on the weekends with friends, and alcohol is generally involved. This means that there could be a large group of people on a boat with open alcoholic beverages in their hands.
The captain of the boat — even if he or she is not drinking anything — will likely be interacting with these people, joking with them and having a great time. This can make it difficult for the captain to avoid succumbing to peer pressure to take a sip of alcohol. It also makes it easy for police to suspect that the captain is just as drunk as the rest of the people on the boat.
Tips to prevent a drunk boating arrest
With the above realities in mind, let’s take a look at a few tips to avoid a drunk boating arrest in these circumstances:
- Ban all alcohol from your boating adventures. Don’t allow you or your passengers to board the boat with alcoholic beverages.
- If you stop somewhere and you and your boating party drink alcohol, wait at least one hour per drink before operating your boat again.
- Keep nonalcoholic beverage options on your boat to stay hydrated.
- Be especially careful to follow these rules on summer holidays. Police are out in full force looking for drunk boaters during the long weekends of the Fourth of July, Labor Day and Memorial Day.
- Know the rules of boating in your area and follow them to the letter.
- Be a defensive boater who errs on the side of safety to avoid all potential hazards.
Were you charged with drunk boating?
Just because police arrested you and charged you with boating under the influence (BUI) doesn’t mean that you will be found guilty in court. In fact, police make mistakes when arresting people for drunk boating crimes, and you have every right to defend yourself against the charges. You and your criminal defense attorney can employ various strategies that could yield a not guilty verdict and/or reduce your consequences if a conviction is likely.