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Boating Under the Influence

Did you know:

1) A boat operator is likely to become impaired more quickly than a driver of a motor vehicle, drink for drink?

2) The use of alcohol is involved in about one third of all recreational boating fatalities?

It is illegal to operate a boat while under the influence of alcohol or drugs in every state. The Coast Guard also enforces a federal law that prohibits boating while under the influence (BUI). This law pertains to all boats - from canoes and rowboats to the largest ships. Violation of these rules can lead to fines, jail time, alcohol education programs, and suspension of your boating license.

In South Carolina, if a person is under the influence of alcohol or drugs while operating a water device, he or she is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon their first conviction, must be punished by a fine or imprisonment for not less than forty-eight hours or more than thirty days. These penalties escalate with every subsequent conviction. If a person who, while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or the combination of alcohol and drugs operates a moving water device within this State and causes great bodily injury or death of a person, he or she is guilty of a felony and, upon conviction, could face fines up to ten thousand dollars and up to twenty-five years of prison.

Your boat is a vehicle. Safe operation is a legal and personal responsibility, so avoid intoxication and be careful.

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