BUI laws strengthen statewide
Anyone operating a boat while under the influence will now face stiffer penalties because of a new law that went into effect yesterday.
Alcohol is a leading factor in boating fatalities, and the new law is intended to make the sport safer. According to the Washington State Parks Boating Program, between 2005 and 2011, there were 157 boating deaths on Washington waters. Alcohol is a factor in 30 percent of boating deaths.
The new “boating under the influence” law makes a BUI conviction a gross misdemeanor; sets legal limits for marijuana use while operating a boat; and provides greater incentive for boat operators to submit to a breathalyzer test. Previously, a BUI conviction was a misdemeanor.
Penalty changes include making the BUI penalty a fine of up to $5,000 and/or 364 days in jail, as a gross misdemeanor. A boat operator who refuses to submit to a breathalyzer test could be fined a maximum of $2,050. The legal limit for boating while under the influence of marijuana is now set at 5.0 nanograms.
The BUI law applies specifically to those operating the boat and does not prohibit consumption by others on board. The legal limit of blood alcohol for boat operators is .08 percent, the same as for motorists on the highways.
For more information on other boating regulations in Washington, visit http://www.boat.wa.gov.
Photo from Wyoming American Boat Operators’ Course