Have you ever driven a boat? If you have then you know that it ain't easy. Maybe it gets a little easier with more experience, but in general, getting a boat to do exactly what you want to do is no easy task. When you add alcohol to the equation it becomes, not only more difficult, but dangerous, and even deadly. The Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) wants to remind you of just how dangerous it can be.

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Boating While Intoxicated (BWI)

It seems like common sense to me that it's not a good idea to try and drive a boat after you've been drinking, but, common sense isn't always common. We beg and plead for people not to drink and drive (cars), so why would driving a boat be any different? In an effort to eliminate, or at least reduce drunk boating, the Indiana DNR shared a tidbit on its Facebook page reminding us that "Alcohol was listed as a leading factor in boating-related deaths where the primary cause was known."

Facebook/Indiana Department of Natural Resources
Facebook/Indiana Department of Natural Resources

What is the Law?

In Indiana, the law prohibits operating a motorboat while intoxicated, with either alcohol or drugs - this includes operating jet skis and sailboats that use an engine. According to dui.drivinglaws.org, you can be convicted of BWI for the following reasons:

  • Being under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or any other intoxicating substance "so that there is an impaired condition of thought and action and the loss of normal control of an individual's faculties"
  • Having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or greater
  • Having any amount of a controlled substance in the body.
Boating violations

Other Boating Violations

Driving while intoxicated is probably the most obvious violation for boaters, but there are a bunch of other laws/rules you need to follow on the water. I found the following video on the Indiana DNR website. This gem covers a handful of common violations seen by Indiana Conservation officers. The video is pretty cheesy - I'm gonna assume that was intentional - but it does a good job of getting the point across.

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