Consuming alcohol while operating a boat is never a good idea. Not only is drinking and boating illegal, but it can also increase the likelihood of an accident. Learn about the dangers and potential consequences of boating under the influence.


Under Virginia law, operating a boat with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher is a Class 1 Misdemeanor and can result in a fine up to $2,500 and/or up to 12 months in jail as well as the loss of the privilege to operate a motorboat for up to a year. Depending on the circumstances, boat operators with a BAC at or above 0.08% may be charged with DUI.


Drinking while boating increases the risk of an accident because it affects boaters in the following ways:

  • Affects balance. Consuming alcohol affects balance, which makes it even more difficult to remain steady on a rocking and swaying boat.
  • Slows reaction time. Alcohol makes it difficult to react to many different stimuli at once. This can be particularly dangerous when operating a boat, as objects underneath the water’s surface may suddenly become hazards.
  • Impairs judgment. Alcohol reduces inhibitions, and may entice passengers to attempt dangerous maneuvers they would not otherwise risk, which increases the possibility of an accident or injury.


Even if you never drink and boat, it’s unlikely all of the other boaters on the water will be sober too. If you were injured in an accident caused by an intoxicated boat operator, don’t let your rights get violated. At Huffman & Huffman, our boating accident lawyers can help you take the proper steps to pursue financial compensation.

Contact Huffman & Huffman Brothers-in-Law, P.L.L.C. at (757) 599-6050 for a free consultation today.


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