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What to know about boating under the influence

A fun pastime in Wisconsin involves heading out to a local lake and relaxing on a boat for an afternoon. You can go over to the Wisconsin Dells or Lake Winnebago and have a glorious afternoon with your loved ones. 

You may think there is no harm in relaxing on your boat with a beer in hand, but you need to be cautious. Operating a boat while under the influence is a crime, and it is just as severe as drunk driving. You can still have fun, but you need to have it in a fun, safe way.

Quick facts about boating under the influence

OWI refers to operating any kind of motorized vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. While that generally associates with cars, it also applies to boats. Although you may think it is almost impossible to run into another boat in an open lake, you will feel amazed at how often it actually happens. The same rules apply to boats as cars: You cannot have a blood alcohol content level over 0.08. The penalties for an OWI for a boat are the same and can include jail time, fines and an impounded boat. 

Penalties for OWI on a boat

Boat operators found under the influence of alcohol while in control of the vessel can face fines between $150 and $300 for a first offense. For a second offense, the fine can get as high as $1,000. Although an OWI for a boat will not necessarily impact your boating privileges, it will require you to attend alcohol classes so you can learn the dangers of using a boat while impaired. Jail sentences are also on the table in the event you caused a boating accident that resulted in property damage or bodily harm. If you find yourself in trouble after operating a boat while intoxicated, then you would still seek out the same legal help as you would for a regular OWI. 

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