Virginia law prohibits anyone from boating while intoxicated (BWI). That is, it is illegal to operate any boat, sailboat, or PWC or to manipulate any water skis, sailboard, or similar device while intoxicated due to alcohol or any combination of alcohol, controlled substance, and/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.
Virginia law states that a person is considered to be "under the influence" if:
- He or she is 21 years of age or older and has a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or higher, or is under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs to a degree which impairs his or her ability to operate safely.
- He or she is under 21 years of age and has any measurable blood alcohol concentration (0.02% or higher) or is under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs to a degree which impairs his or her ability to operate safely.