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Ouick Member Query...

Discussion in 'Ask All Sailors' started by Rick D, Jan 9, 2017. Add this thread to a FAQ

  1. Rick D

    Rick D

    Joined Jun 14, 2008
    6,032 posts, 46 likes
    Hunter Legend 40.5
    US Long Beach, Shoreline Marina, CA
    Which of your states have an open container / no drinking law for the operator of a vessel?
    (I'm attending a legislative planning meeting tomorrow)
    Optional: issues / experience?
    Thanks...
     


  2. Don S/V ILLusion

    Don S/V ILLusion

    Joined Sep 25, 2008
    4,600 posts, 73 likes
    Alden 50
    US Sarasota, Florida
    No such law in the four states with which I am familiar: Florida, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Wisconsin. Typical DUI laws notwithstanding.
    There would be a lot less traffic in Sarasota bay as everyone would be in jail if such a law existed here.
     


    Gene Neill likes this.
  3. Ed Caldwell

    Ed Caldwell

    Joined Jul 29, 2004
    243 posts, 12 likes
    Hunter 340
    US Lake Lanier, GA
    Georgia DNR site does not mention open container issues on its alcohol and drug reg page
    Georgia boating law states:
    • It is illegal for those under the age of 21 years to operate a boat or PWC if their blood alcohol level is 0.02 or more
    • Those 21 years of age or older are considered to be under the influence, and may not operate a boat or PWC, if their blood alcohol level is 0.08 or more or if drugs are detected.
    from http://www.georgiawildlife.com/boating/BUI

    Also found this from 2006. Note second paragraph. I haven't heard of any changes to this since 2006.
    "The Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Division (WRD) and TEAM Georgia, a safe and sober driving and boating coalition, remind people to refrain from drinking alcohol while operating a boat or personal watercraft (PWC). Alcohol, mixed with boating activities, creates dangerous conditions that can lead to tragedy. Last year, conservation rangers made 77 boating under the influence (BUI) arrests on Georgia waterways and responded to 12 alcohol-related boating incidents.

    "It is not illegal to have alcohol in an open container on a boat, nor is it illegal for a person operating a boat to drink provided they are not less safe," says Lt. Col. Homer Bryson, Assistant Chief of Law Enforcement. "However, if a person is over the age of 21 and has a blood alcohol content of .08 or higher, they are presumed to be less safe and may be charged with boating under the influence."
    from http://www.georgiawildlife.com/node/1072
     


  4. Jackdaw

    Jackdaw

    Joined Nov 8, 2010
    6,075 posts, 623 likes
    Beneteau First 36.7 & 260
    US Minneapolis MN & Bayfield WI
    MN and WI it is permissible to have open containers.

    Notwithstanding, the operator must not exceed 0.08 BAC.
     


  5. rgranger

    rgranger

    Joined Jan 19, 2010
    3,668 posts, 264 likes
    Hunter 26, Hobie 16 26
    US Smith Mountain Lake
    DUI laws are the same for driving or boating in VA.

    ยง 18.2-323.1. Drinking while operating a motor vehicle; possession of open container while operating a motor vehicle and presumption; penalty.

    A. It shall be unlawful for any person to consume an alcoholic beverage while driving a motor vehicle upon a public highway of this Commonwealth.

    B. A rebuttable presumption that the driver has consumed an alcoholic beverage in violation of this section shall be created if (i) an open container is located within the passenger area of the motor vehicle, (ii) the alcoholic beverage in the open container has been at least partially removed and (iii) the appearance, conduct, odor of alcohol, speech or other physical characteristic of the driver of the motor vehicle may be reasonably associated with the consumption of an alcoholic beverage.

    For the purposes of this section:

    'Open container' means any vessel containing an alcoholic beverage, except the originally sealed manufacturer's container.


    However, I don't think the open container part of this law is enforced for boating in VA. At least I've never heard of it being enforced.
     


  6. Kermit

    Kermit

    Joined Jul 31, 2010
    3,053 posts, 490 likes
    Hunter 260
    US Sumter, SC Lake Murray Sailing Club, SC
    Pretty much the same in SC. BUT... Once a drinking boat driver has a wreck, everyone (especially the press) slams him as if he is Satan. Which I don't disagree with. The problem is the law doesn't really discourage drinking and boating until *after* someone is killed. Yes we have TV ads about safe boating they aren't very affective.
     


  7. kloudie1

    kloudie1

    Joined Nov 6, 2006
    6,842 posts, 180 likes
    Hunter 34
    US Mandeville Louisiana


  8. dlochner

    dlochner

    Joined Jan 11, 2014
    487 posts, 68 likes
    Sabre 362
    US Oswego, NY
    Rick,

    Your question seems to be a frequently asked one. Google "Open Container Laws Boating." The consensus seems that having an open container is not illegal. The consensus is that the operator of the vessel can not be impaired and those laws parallel motor vehicle laws, i.e., .08% BAC.

    NY has recently tied BUI and DUI laws closer together. In the past a BUI didn't count towards future DUI penalties and vice versa, now they do. On a subsequent conviction on either a DUI or BUI prior BUIs and DUIs count equally towards increased penalties.

    One little known USCG regulation is that the Helmsperson may not be considered the operator of the vessel. The operator is Captain, on commercial boats, on recreational boats it is the owner or the person who normally commands the vessel. Joe Hazelwood (Exxon Valdez Captain) learned this the hard way. Locally, a few years back there was a boating accident in Oswego NY, while the person driving the boat was not impaired, the operator/owner was. He was arrested for BUI.

    Banning open containers on recreational boats presents challenges that are not present with banning them in motor vehicles. Larger boats will often have open bottles of liquor stored in the cabin. It would not be practical to ban all open containers, especially in larger boats.
     


  9. rgranger

    rgranger

    Joined Jan 19, 2010
    3,668 posts, 264 likes
    Hunter 26, Hobie 16 26
    US Smith Mountain Lake


  10. agprice22

    agprice22

    Joined Aug 3, 2012
    1,314 posts, 69 likes
    O'day 272
    US Watkins Glen
    If it is no longer true, did the drive-thru bars close? :biggrin:
     


  11. Rick D

    Rick D

    Joined Jun 14, 2008
    6,032 posts, 46 likes
    Hunter Legend 40.5
    US Long Beach, Shoreline Marina, CA
    For clarity, the CA proposal is to extend the existing motor vehicle prohibition of open containers to the operator of a boat. DUI limits already apply. Besides the operator issue, I also have a concern that sailboat crew could be construed as operating a boat when engaged in sail trim, grinding, navigation, etc.
     


  12. Kermit

    Kermit

    Joined Jul 31, 2010
    3,053 posts, 490 likes
    Hunter 260
    US Sumter, SC Lake Murray Sailing Club, SC
    Hmmm. Legally drunk while driving. Now there's an interesting oxymoron.
    I think I need @Meriachee and @Ralph Johnstone to help explain that one.
     


  13. dlochner

    dlochner

    Joined Jan 11, 2014
    487 posts, 68 likes
    Sabre 362
    US Oswego, NY
    The definition of "operator of the boat" should certainly be clarified. As was noted in the Exxon Valdez case, Joe Hazelwood was the operator of the vessel even though he was drunk in his cabin and somebody else ran the boat aground.

    I think the CG already has a definition or at least guidelines on who is the operator of the boat and that is the person who is in command of the boat, not necessarily the driver.

    Another flaw in the "applies only to the operator" is that it is essentially unenforceable. The authorities would have to see the person with a can of beer in their hands in order to charge him. If the can was in the drink holder, why of course it belonged to someone who was not operating the boat. (Unless of course there is only one person on board.)
     


  14. kloudie1

    kloudie1

    Joined Nov 6, 2006
    6,842 posts, 180 likes
    Hunter 34
    US Mandeville Louisiana
    Louisiana, like New York, always had a legal drinking age of 18. You could drink while driving, but ya couldn't be drunk. In my hometown, a driver's license (age 15) was sufficient in most bars to buy a beer. A sheriff's deputy was usually in the bar to make sure folks didn't misbehave. They usually knew our folks and would report you to them if ya got rowdy.. That enforcement worked locally.. The 0.1 BAL was the rule for "drunk" .. Eventually, back in '86, the MADD folks started seeing that kids from Mississippi and Texas were being killed in auto accidents at a very high rate.. (as they attempted to drive back from Louisiana) They put some pressure on Reagan and his guys to cut off Fed highway money unless the state made it illegal for folks under 21 to buy alcohol. After some court challenges, the law was upheld and the open container part was attached as well. I think that was around 1996..It is more strictly enforced in some areas.. In the town where my boat lives, there are three "drive through" daiquiri shops.
     


  15. JRacer

    JRacer

    Joined Aug 9, 2011
    255 posts, 16 likes
    Beneteau 310
    US Wichita, Kansas Cheney KS (Wichita)
    KS Laws:
    Although it is not illegal to have or consume alcohol on a boat in the State of Kansas, it is illegal to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs while operating a vessel on Kansas water. It is also illegal to water ski or tube while under the influence. Any person who operates or attempts to operate a vessel has given consent to an alcohol and/or drug test by KDWPT Law Enforcement Officers. Failure to submit to a test will result in loss of boating privileges for three months, and a conviction of boating under the influence is punishable by fine and/or imprisonment and the loss of boating privileges. Successful completion of an approved Boating Education Course may also be required.

    Many factors contribute to the way alcohol affects a person on the water, such as the sun, wind, glare off the water, dehydration, and motion of the waves, causing a person to become intoxicated 3 times faster than on shore.

    Just like on land, having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or higher is considered legally intoxicated. Anyone under the age of 21 is considered to be legally intoxicated if their BAC is .02% or higher
     


  16. Meriachee

    Meriachee

    Joined Aug 1, 2011
    1,313 posts, 143 likes
    Catalina 270
    CA Edmonton, Ab Wabamun - on the orange ball
    Nah. Getting tossed, no matter how you go about it, does not involve driving. Ever. Snacks, maybe.
    Kermee, are you going to the YVR boat show? Ever been thrown out of a stadium? Now >there< is something that you could tell the grandkids.
     


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  17. agprice22

    agprice22

    Joined Aug 3, 2012
    1,314 posts, 69 likes
    O'day 272
    US Watkins Glen
    Two things stood out about my visit to Louisiana in 1994: drive through daiquiri shops... and no left turns at multi-lane intersections... you drove through the intersection and made a u-turn in a designated lane. This was probably to keep the people from turning left in front of oncoming traffic while sipping a 32oz frozen Pina Colada... yikes!
    I remember a little more, but vaguely because we got drive-thru at 10am... then we drank and ate our way through the French Quarter...
    I apologize for a little thread-jacking here. :(
     


  18. rgranger

    rgranger

    Joined Jan 19, 2010
    3,668 posts, 264 likes
    Hunter 26, Hobie 16 26
    US Smith Mountain Lake
    Yeah.... I had a hard time explaining to my wife when I first took her to meet the family.
     


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  19. Kermit

    Kermit

    Joined Jul 31, 2010
    3,053 posts, 490 likes
    Hunter 260
    US Sumter, SC Lake Murray Sailing Club, SC
    I'm confused. Isn't it winter in Vancouver now? And isn't Vancouver in Canada, which is in,well, Canada?
    Gary, I promise you I want to come get thrown out of *something* with you before this tired old body gets too tired and old. I'm pretty sure I'll come during the summer. (Isn't summer July 8-12 in Canada?)
     


  20. Gunni

    Gunni

    Joined Mar 16, 2010
    3,434 posts, 263 likes
    Beneteau 411 Oceanis
    US Annapolis
    Maryland legislates actual drunk boating not the aperture status of your libation.
     



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