Boating Under the Influence in Massachusetts

Boating Under the Influence in Massachusetts

Boating under the influence of alcohol or drugs can be deadly. According to statistics compiled by the U.S. Coast Guard, alcohol or drug use was the primary factor in approximately seven percent of all recreational boating accidents in 2010, and drunk boating claimed 126 lives that year.

To discourage drunk boating and minimize the injuries and deaths it causes, all 50 states and the federal government have passed laws to criminalize it. Massachusetts has one of the toughest boating under the influence (BUI) laws.

Under Massachusetts law, a person is considered to be boating under the influence if his or her blood or breath alcohol concentration is .08 or above. Penalties for BUI include:

  • Up to 30 months in prison and a $1,000 fine
  • Revocation of your motor vehicle license and boat registration for up to one year
  • Up to 10 years in prison and a $5,000 fine if convicted of BUI and causing serious bodily injury to another person

Also, the law says if you operate a boat on Massachusetts waters, you have given “implied” consent to alcohol testing if you are arrested for BUI. Should you refuse, your motor vehicle license and boat registration can be revoked for 180 days. It is also illegal for boat owners to knowingly allow someone under the influence to operate their vessel.

Even though state and federal law prohibits drunk boating, it continues to happen. Do you know what your rights are as a victim of drunk boating? If a drunk boater caused your injuries, or if your loved one was killed in a drunk boating accident, learn about your legal rights from an experienced Boston maritime attorney.

Latti & Anderson LLP – Boston maritime trial lawyers