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Can you drink booze on a boat? Here’s what Georgia law says about boating & drinking

Alcohol is the leading contributor in fatal boating accidents, according to the U.S. Coast Guard . In fact, about 16% of fatalities (88 total deaths) on the water were due to drinking and boating in 2022.

Data further shows that in boating deaths involving alcohol use, more than half of the victims either capsized their boats, fell overboard or both. So, is drinking and boating even legal? If so, what are the laws associated with drinking and boating in Georgia? Here’s what we know: Is it legal to drink alcohol and operate a boat? In short, yes. However, there are several laws surrounding the issue.

According to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources Law Enforcement Division, the Georgia boating law states : Those 21 years of age or older are considered to be under the influence, and may not operate a boat, if their blood alcohol level is 0.08 or more or if drugs are detected. For those under 21, it’s already illegal to drink, but if they have had alcohol, they cannot operate the boat if their blood alcohol level is 0.02 or more. Why is boating and drinking so dangerous?

It might seem like fun and games, but boating and drinking can be extremely dangerous. “Alcohol is even more hazardous on the water than on land. The marine environment has motion, vibration, engine noise, sun, wind and spray accelerates a drinker’s impairment,” said a spokesperson with the U.S. Coast Guard’s Boating Safety Division . “These stressors cause fatigue that makes a boat operator’s coordination, judgment and reaction time decline even faster when using alcohol.” Drinking alcohol while boating can affect your balance, peripheral vision and depth perception. It can also disturb your inner ear, which makes it harder to distinguish up from down if you fall into the water.

And if the water is cold, alcohol can create a physical sense of warmth, making it easier to be a victim of hypothermia if you fall overboard. Not only is it dangerous, but there are many penalties if you take drinking too far while boating. Lets check them out: What are the penalties of drinking too much while boating? Georgia boating laws state that if you operate a boat on Georgia waters, you consent to drug and alcohol testing if requested by law enforcement.

However, if you refuse, you’ll automatically lose your boating privileges for up to one year and the refusal can be used against you in a trial. Additionally, if you are caught boating and drinking past the legal limit, you could be guilty of boating under the influence (BUI). Penalties if arrested include : You may lose all privileges to operate a boat until you have successfully completed a DUI Alcohol or Drug Use Risk Reduction Program approved by the Department of Driver Services. You will also be charged with a misdemeanor punishable by fines up to $1,000 and/or prison time up to one year. A person found operating a boat under the influence while a child under the age of 14 years is on board, is also guilty of the separate charge of endangering a child.


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It's same as dui for any other vehicle, car or plane. Or even bicycle. George Jones on a lawn mower. Etc.

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