Is it illegal to have alcohol on a boat? No.
Is it illegal to drink alcohol and operate a watercraft? Yes!
Do not drink and operate a boat at the same time. Georgia’s Boat Safety Act prohibits anyone from operating a boat, sailboat, jet ski, kayak, or other watercraft while impaired.
Boating under the influence (BUI) is the main cause of boating accidents in Georgia and accounts for half of all boating fatalities, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.
A BUI is treated the same as a DUI under the law, with the same blood alcohol limit of 0.08 percent and the same consequences. Last year, game wardens cited 189 people for boating while intoxicated.
Drinking while boating also puts everyone around you at risk. The chances of a boating accident doubles when alcohol, drugs, or strong medication is involved.
Boat wrecks can hurt passengers or damage, capsize, or sink a vessel. Drivers or passengers under the influence are also at risk of drowning, especially if there’s an accident or negligent behavior.
Injuries sustained because of boating accidents take longer to treat because most incidents happen far from medical facilities and the shoreline.
Yes, it’s hot and nothing seems better than taking a boat out on the lake or river to enjoy the water. But common sense should be exercised while enjoying yourself. Be alert to potential hazards and other vessels or people in the area.
Remember: if it’s unsafe to drive a car while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, it’s unsafe to drive a boat.