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What you should know about boating under the influence

Boating under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a serious offense. It can lead to accidents, injuries and deaths. Drivers who boat under the influence can be pulled over in their boats, just like if they were in a land vehicle. Sometimes, there are DUI checkpoints on lakes, rivers or even the ocean, which helps prevent dangerous drivers from operating their boats.

If you're stopped on the water by the authorities, you may need to submit to a breathalyzer test or a blood test on their request. These tests reveal your blood alcohol concentration. Remember that boating in the sun can dehydrate you, which makes it more likely for alcohol to affect you quickly.

If you are asked to perform a field sobriety test, it may be worth asking if you can do so on land. The authorities may ask you to walk and turn, which could be tricky if you're not used to the motion of the boat. Even healthy, sober individuals sometimes struggle with these tests under the right circumstances. It's a good idea to let the authorities know if you have any medical conditions that may affect your ability to perform the test accurately.

If you are convicted of a BUI, you could lose your boating license. BUIs have many of the same consequences as DUIs, so it's important to look into your legal options right away. You don't want to have this situation result in a conviction if you don't have to, since it could damage your reputation and hurt other aspects of your life.

Source: FindLaw, "Boating Under the Influence (BUI) FAQs," accessed Feb. 17, 2017

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