Karns Law Group
free initial consultation
888-KARNS-LAW | 401-239-1085

Driving under the influence applies to watercrafts

Rhode Island offers an abundance of water activities, from open water fishing to spending an afternoon cruising or jet skiing. The boating rules are similar to those of automobiles in many ways.  

According to Boat Ed, it is against Rhode Island law to operate watercraft while intoxicated, regardless of whether it is on the open water, or in the many inlets and coves along the shore. Watercraft includes sailboats and sailboards, powerboats, water skis or any similar device. Alcohol use can impair balance and judgment as well as result in poor coordination and slow reaction times.

By operating a vessel, individuals agree to follow state laws. Harbormasters, police officers, US Coast Guard and officers of the Department of Environmental Management’s Environmental Police have the right to stop vessels and board them to check for compliance when there is probable cause. This includes administering a test for blood alcohol levels.

FindLaw reports that the rise in injuries as a result of alcohol or other controlled substances prompted BUI laws. Boat and other operators with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or more are intoxicated by state law standards and are subject to penalties. Civil and criminal laws discourage operating a watercraft while intoxicated. While the first offense may include a modest fine and community service, repeat offenders may have jail time and other significant penalties.

Criminal charges may be brought against individuals who injure others as a result of their impaired state. Not only can boating licenses be revoked or suspended, but if the injury results in permanent disability or death, it may be a felony conviction. Jail time can be ten years or more.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information
Request A Free Consultation Email Our Firm Now

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

Our Offices

Providence Office
128 Dorrance Street
Suite 250
Providence, RI 02903

Phone: 401-239-1085
Map & Directions

Middletown Office
6 Valley Road
Middletown, RI 02842

Phone: 401-239-1085
Fax: 401-846-5999
Middletown Law Office Map