The Massachusetts Boater Safety Handbook
The Official Boating Handbook of the Massachusetts Department of Natural Resources - Web Version
Table of Contents
Massachusetts has one of the strongest boating under the influence (BUI) laws in the nation. Massachusetts law prohibits anyone from operating any vessel while under the influence of alcohol or any controlled substance.
Massachusetts law states that a person is considered to be boating under the influence (BUI) if he or she has a blood or breath alcohol concentration of 0.08% or greater.
Massachusetts law establishes the following penalties for BUI.
- Those convicted of BUI for the first time may be imprisoned for up to 30 months, fined up to $1,000, or imprisoned and fined. An offender also may have his or her motor vehicle license and vessel’s registration revoked for up to one year.
- Repeat offenders will receive more severe penalties.
- Offenders convicted of BUI and causing serious bodily injury to another person may be imprisoned for up to 10 years and fined up to $5,000.
Why drinking and boating can be lethal…
The effect of alcohol is increased by the natural stressors (wind, sun, vibration) placed on your body while boating. Also, the dehydration of your body caused by the natural stressors causes alcohol to be absorbed more quickly into your system.
Alcohol depresses the central nervous system, affects judgment, and slows reaction times. Most people become slightly intoxicated after only one drink.
By operating a vessel on Massachusetts waters, you have given “implied” consent to alcohol testing if arrested for boating under the influence. Anyone who refuses to submit to a blood alcohol level test is subject to having their motor vehicle license and vessel’s registration revoked for 180 days.
It is illegal for the owner or operator of a vessel to knowingly permit it to be operated by someone under the influence of alcohol or any controlled substance.