In the Heat of the Summer, Watch Out for BUI


It’s summer! Time for some fun in the sun on our state’s waterways. But watch out – while you’re out there on the lake, you are being watched. Not to stoke any latent paranoid thoughts, but Colorado police are on the lookout for boaters who are under the influence of alcohol or marijuana. Boating under the influence – or BUI – is a crime, and if you are caught, you could face serious repercussions, such as fines, potential jail time, loss of your boating privileges and even the impounding of your boat.

Recently, Colorado Parks and Wildlife engaged with Operation Dry Water, a national campaign dedicated to reducing the rate of drunk boating across the United States. The campaign points out some of the dangers of boating under the influence, including:

  • The fact that alcohol impairs a person’s judgment, balance, vision and reaction time, which can lead to danger if something goes wrong
  • The fact that alcohol can lead to fatigue and can actually increase a person’s susceptibility to the effects of cold water
  • The fact that boating environments are volatile, with the sun, wind, loud sounds and erratic motions that can combine with a person’s impairment and increase the risk of something going wrong
  • The fact that alcohol is not only dangerous for the driver of the boat, but the passengers as well; passengers who are intoxicated are at higher risk of slip-and-fall accidents and falling overboard

In order to be charged with BUI, a boater must have a blood alcohol content exceeding .08 – just like DUI. As for marijuana, it’s illegal to smoke out in public, so keep that in mind before you light up on the lake.

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