Do you plan on going boating this summer? Do you plan on having a party on a boat this summer? Do you plan on having alcohol on the boat or drinking it while on the boat? Sounds like a fun time if you ask me so I want to give you some tips to make sure you have a fantastic and safe time.
First thing first, did you know that Arizona has OUI or BUI laws? This stands for Operating Under the Influence (aka boating under the influence) and yes, if you boat and drink you could get popped for this. It is a class 1 misdemeanor and has many of the same consequences and punishments as a DUI does. You can drink and even be drunk on a boat but you cannot “operate” the boat if you are intoxicated. The legal limit is .08 and it becomes an extreme when you reach a .15.
Just like with a DUI, for a first time offense you will have a fine and at least 2 different monetary assessments. The amounts increase when your BAC (blood alcohol content) reaches .15 or if you have had an OUI before. You will also likely be sentenced to spend at least one day in jail and be required to attend alcohol and drug counseling, which you have to pay for. And, you will have to pay for your stay in jail. You could also be sentenced to fulfill a number of community service hours.
The morale of the story? Just like driving, DO NOT BOAT AND DRINK…period. The cops are out on the lakes so don’t think you will not be seen. Operating Under the Influence is a serious matter which is even more dangerous when you notice there are no lights, lane lines or curbs on a lake.
Second, watch your passengers, especially if they are drinking. Every year we hear a story of a person who fell overboard and drowned. You never think it will happen to you; but it could, after all, it happens at least once every summer to someone who wasn’t expecting it.
Third, keep your children in life jackets. Even if they know how to swim, a life jacket can still save their lives and it is worth it.
Here is a link to a piece on AZCentral.com that shows how serious Arizona takes an OUI and wants to raise awareness for the crime. And here is a link to the Arizona Game and Fish Department with even more information about safe boating and Arizona laws.
So have a safe and wonderful trip out on the lake and keep these things in mind when you are filling up that cooler!