Boating Under the Influence


I’m Don Pumphrey for the Pumphrey Law Firm and today a question was asked about boating under the influence. (BUI)

In other words, consuming alcoholic beverages or controlled substances and then operating a vessel, a boat, and a boat can be a jet ski, a boat can be a kayak, a boat can be anything that travels on the water, either powered by human power or machine power and here’s what you need to know.  The good news is Florida is not what’s called a “motor boater state” like some states like Alabama and other states throughout the United States.  In Florida you don’t have to have a driver’s license to drive and actually a boating under the influence case can still affect your driver’s license but should not directly affect it through an administrative process with the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles –  not “motor vessels” – it’s a key distinction here.  What I’m going to tell you is this – Be safe.  If you’re operating a vessel on the water, many people think it’s a leisure activity and actually it’s one of the most complicated and dangerous activities you can undertake.  Things can happen in an instant – weather can change, people can fall overboard, and you have props or other mechanical instruments that can cause a great deal of damage to somebody, so here’s a good piece of advice –  don’t drink and operate a vessel at any time.  You can have your friends, you can have everyone else, they can enjoy and have a good time as long as they’re of the age and there’s no illegal substances, but you as a vessel operator, are the captain of your ship and you are responsible for everyone on board whether you have a captain’s license or not.  Take a word of advice – don’t drink and operate a vessel, and if for some reason you have consumed a beer or an alcoholic beverage and you’re not impaired, be polite to any officer who boards you or stops you for a safety check when you’re on the water.  In the state of Florida, and in the United States, there’s a lesson to expectation of privacy because the rights of the people operating the vessel are outweighed by maritime safety.  Heed my advice –  don’t drink and operate a vessel.

I’m Don Pumphrey Jr. for the Pumphrey Law Firm.

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