Florida's laws against boating while impaired by alcohol or other drugs are as strict as those for driving a vehicle while impaired. Florida law prohibits anyone from boating under the influence (BUI). That is, it is illegal to operate any vessel or to manipulate any water skis, sailboard, or similar device while intoxicated due to alcohol or any combination of alcohol, a controlled substance, or drugs. Alcohol and drugs cause impaired balance, blurred vision, poor coordination, impaired judgment, and slower reaction time. Alcohol is a major contributor to boating accidents and fatalities.
Florida law states that a person is considered to be “under the influence” if he or she has a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 or higher or is under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs to a degree that impairs his or her normal abilities. A blood alcohol concentration of 0.05 to 0.08 also may indicate a person is “under the influence” if accompanied by other competent evidence.