What Is A BUI?

What is a BUI?

Clear water, vast skies, and blissful sunlight . . . while spending a day out on the water, you might think an ice cold beer or a fruity mixed drink will be the perfect addition to a relaxing day. But if you’re operating the boat, you might want to think again. Boating while intoxicated can have the same harmful effects as drinking and driving, and can earn you a BUI (Boating Under the Influence).

According to Florida Statutes, the laws and consequences for boating under the influence are very similar to those for driving while intoxicated. When operating a boat or other water vessel, a blood alcohol level (BAC) of 0.08 grams per 100 milliliters of blood is considered dangerous and illegal. For a first conviction, you may face up to six months in prison, or a fine of up to $1,000.

The legal consequences should not be the only thing on your mind. If you make the decision to operate a boat while intoxicated, you put others at risk. In Florida, around 34% of fatal boating accidents are the result of a BUI. If you are intoxicated, you are a risk to other boaters on the water, as well as to the passengers on your boat.


Alcohol effects many skills necessary to operate a boat, including:

  • Focus
  • Perception, including peripheral vision and night vision
  • Reaction time and judgement
  • Coordination

Remember that spending all day in the sun is likely to make you drowsy, too. This will heighten the effects of alcohol, and make an already bad situation even more dangerous.

In the event that someone falls into the water while intoxicated, it creates a greater sense of confusion, as it prevents someone from figuring out which way to swim.


If you drive your car to a party and have a few drinks, you have other options for getting home. In these situations, you can call an Uber, or ask a sober friend for a ride home. While boating, you don’t have these options. If you find yourself intoxicated in the middle of the ocean or lake, there isn’t exactly a taxi service you can call to take you home.

This is why it’s incredibly important to not drink at all while operating a boat. Before you operate a boat, make a commitment to not drink. It will be safer for everyone that way. Spending a day on the open water should be fun and relaxing by itself. You don’t need alcohol to enjoy it!


The attorneys at Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes represent those involved in car accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, and other types of personal injury matters. Our firm is one of the oldest personal injury law firms in Tampa Bay. There are no attorneys’ fees or costs unless we prevail for you. Call our office 24 hours a day at 727-796-8282 or simply click here to schedule a free case consultation.

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