Here’s what you need to know about the legality of drinking while operating a watercraft.
In the state of Texas, it is illegal to operate a boat or other watercraft while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The law defines a watercraft as “a vessel, one or more water skis, an aquaplane, or another device used for transporting or carrying a person on water, other than a device propelled only by the current of water.” (Tex. Penal Code Ann. § 49.01(4) (2016).)
Under Texas state law, an individual can be convicted of boating while intoxicated (BWI), also referred to as boating under the influence (BUI). This charge occurs when a person operates a vessel while:
- Impaired by drugs or alcohol
- Having a blood, breath, or urine alcohol concentration of .08% or higher
The severity of BWI penalties will vary depending on whether the operator has a previous BWI conviction or was involved in an accident resulting in serious bodily injury or death of another. First-offense BWIs are considered class B misdemeanors and are subject fines up to $2,000 and jailtime ranging from 72 hours to 180 days. However, if a first offense results in injury or death, then they can be convicted of a second or third-degree felony with fines up to $10,000 and up to 20 years of jailtime.
All boaters who operate a watercraft with a BAC of .08% or higher will face a suspension of their driver’s license for a period of six months to a year depending on whether the offender had an alcohol or drug-related suspension in the past ten years.
This is what you need to know about Texas’s laws on drinking while boating. Make sure you avoid operating a watercraft while under the influence of drugs or alcohol for your safety and the safety of others. It’s also important that you protect your boat or other personal watercraft with the right insurance coverage. To find the right policies to meet your needs, contact the experts at Reata Insurance Group. Our dedicated team is ready to get you covered today.