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Law Offices of Harold J. Cronk

Navigating the Waters: Boating Under the Influence (BUI) Laws in Georgia

  • By: Federico Cali
  • Published: October 25, 2023


Georgia’s abundant lakes, rivers, and coastal areas offer residents and
visitors plenty of opportunities for recreational boating. While enjoying
the scenic waterways, it’s important to be aware of the laws surrounding
Boating Under the Influence (BUI). Just like driving under the influence on
the road is illegal, operating a boat while impaired by alcohol or drugs is
against the law in Georgia. In this blog post, we’ll explore the BUI laws
in Georgia, the consequences of a BUI conviction, and tips for safe and
responsible boating.

Georgia BUI Laws

The BUI laws in Georgia can be found in the Official Code of Georgia
Annotated (OCGA) Section 52-7-12. Under these laws:

1. **Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) Limit**: The legal BAC limit for
boaters in Georgia is the same as for drivers on the road, which is 0.08%
for adults. For boaters under 21, any BAC above 0.02% is considered illegal.

2. **Implied Consent**: Just like with DUI on the road, boaters in Georgia
have impliedly consented to chemical testing (breath, blood, or urine) if
law enforcement has probable cause to suspect BUI. Refusing the test can
result in penalties, including a suspension of boating privileges.

3. **Penalties**: Penalties for a BUI conviction in Georgia may include
fines, imprisonment, probation, mandatory alcohol or drug counseling,
community service, and the impoundment of your boat.

4. **Aggravating Factors**: BUI penalties can be more severe if there are
aggravating factors, such as prior BUI convictions or if the BUI resulted
in an accident causing injury or death.

Consequences of a BUI Conviction

A BUI conviction in Georgia can have serious consequences, including:

1. **Criminal Record**: A BUI conviction will result in a criminal record
that can impact future employment and housing opportunities.

2. **Fines and Penalties**: The fines and penalties for BUI can be
substantial, particularly for repeat offenses or when aggravating factors
are present.

3. **Loss of Boating Privileges**: Your boating privileges may be
suspended, and your boat may be impounded, depending on the circumstances
of your BUI.

4. **Insurance Costs**: A BUI conviction can lead to increased boat
insurance premiums or even difficulty obtaining coverage.

5. **Civil Liability**: If your BUI results in an accident causing injury
or death, you may be held civilly liable for damages.

Safe and Responsible Boating

To avoid the legal and safety risks associated with BUI, here are some tips
for safe and responsible boating:

1. **Designate a Sober Skipper**: If you plan to consume alcohol or drugs,
designate a sober skipper who will operate the boat responsibly.

2. **Know Your Limits**: Be aware of your own alcohol tolerance and never
underestimate the effects of alcohol on the water, as they can be
intensified by factors like sun, wind, and motion.

3. **Wear Life Jackets**: Ensure that everyone on board has access to
properly fitting life jackets and wears them at all times.

4. **Boating Education**: Take a boating education course to familiarize
yourself with boating laws and safety measures.

5. **Stay Informed**: Keep an eye on weather conditions and navigation
hazards, and always follow local regulations.


Boating under the influence in Georgia is a serious offense with legal and
safety implications. Understanding the BUI laws and making responsible
choices while boating can help ensure a safe and enjoyable experience on
Georgia’s waterways. Remember that safety should always be a top priority
when operating a boat, and never underestimate the potential dangers of BUI.

Law Offices of Harold J. Cronk

Joe Cronk is a Dui and Felony (drug crimes and aggravated
assault) in Savannah, GA. Call For Case Evaluation - No Charge
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