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Alcohol and Drug Use

Boating can magnify the side effects of alcohol and drug use. Effects include impaired judgment, reduced balance and poor coordination.

Under federal law, and in most states, it is against the law to operate a boat or water ski with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or more. There are also dangers for passengers under the influence of alcohol or drugs. They can easily fall overboard, swim near the propeller, lean over the side, or stand up in small boats, causing it to capsize.

Best Practices

Read BoatBeat’s General Best Practices, in addition to the following tips, for more recommendation and information.

  • Boat Under the Influence vs. Operating Under the Influence: Coming soon.
  • Consequences: Discuss the consequences of boating under the influence.
  • Vehicle Operation: Note that when someone is arrested for boating under the influence, they are not be able to operate their vehicle towing a trailered vessel on the road way.

Fact Sheets

Alcohol and Boating Don’t Mix

Reporters Play a Critical Role in Boating Safety

Browse All Fact Sheets

Expert Sources

U.S. Coast Guard, Office of Auxiliary & Boating Safety

National Safe Boating Council (NSBC)

National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA)

Browse Federal and State Point-of-Contacts

External Resources

Operation Dry Water


Case Study Sources