This summer many Georgians will pack coolers and head to the lake! Boating is a great adventure, but remember there are consequences for not operating within the law.

Georgia has strict laws when it comes to operating vehicles while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. These laws apply to land vehicles, as well as ones on the water. Boating while under the influence can lead to an accident with serious injuries.  If caught operating a boat while under the influence, boaters can face fines, suspension of boating privileges, arrests, and even potentially jail time.

The Georgia Boat Safety Act considers the use of motorboats, jet skis, sailboats, and other personal watercraft while under the influence to be illegal if:

  • The person has a blood alcohol level of 0.08 or greater.
  • If drugs are detected.

In either case, boaters can be detained until further investigation is performed to determine a person’s state of sobriety.

Under Georgia Code, O.C.G.A 52-7-12 (1&2) the law states that:

“Under the influence of alcohol/drugs to the extent that it is less safe for the person to operate, navigate, steer, drive, manipulate, or be in actual physical control of a moving vessel, moving water skis, moving aquaplane, moving surfboard, or similar moving device.”

On the other hand, probable cause is not needed in order for authority figures, such as DNR (Department of Natural Resources), to stop your boat and subject the driver to drug and alcohol related tests.

If you are charged with a BUI, Georgia state law allows up to 10 business days to appeal the suspension of one’s boating license. Failure to appeal in a timely manner can lead to a one-year boating license suspension.

Don’t let drinking and boating ruin your summer fun. Be mindful that heat and dehydration from the sun can intensify the effects of alcohol. Remember to drink responsibly, especially when operating machines.

If you or someone you know is charged with a BUI, reach out to Miller & Wynn with any questions about your rights and the law.  Our attorneys have decades of experience. Call us at (770)-942-2720 or visit our website at for more information.


By | 2018-07-09T13:21:38+00:00 July 9th, 2018|General|Comments Off on Boating Under the Influence

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