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It's the Law

Alcohol and Drugs

Tennessee law prohibits anyone from boating under the influence (BUI) that is, operating any vessel propelled by a motor or sail while under the influence of 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 times. Alcohol is a major contributor to boating accidents and fatalities.

Tennessee law states that a person is presumed to be under the influence if the concentration of alcohol in his or her blood is 0.08% or greater.

Tennessee law establishes the following penalties.

  • Those convicted of boating under the influence are subject to a fine of up to $2,500 upon a first or second offense, and up to $5,000 for the third offense.
  • In addition, those convicted of BUI may receive a jail sentence of up to one year (with mandatory probation) and lose operating privileges for one to ten years.
  • Federal penalties also may be imposed.

By operating a vessel on Tennessee waters, you have consented to a sobriety test if requested by a law enforcement officer. Refusal to be tested is a separate offense and may result in loss of operating privileges for up to six months.

Just remember this simple rule: Don't Drink and Boat!