Boating and Alcohol: The Laws
It is illegal in the state of Alaska to operate any boat while under the influence of alcohol, an inhalant, controlled substances, or any combination thereof.
In Alaska, a person is considered to be under the influence/intoxicated if:
- They have a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) level of 0.08 or more, within 4 hours of the time of the boat operation.
In Alaska, a person convicted of operating their boat while under the influence will be subject to the following penalties:
- On their first conviction, they will be subject to a minimum $1,500 fine and a minimum of 72 hours imprisonment.
- On their second conviction, they will be subject to a minimum $3,000 fine and a minimum of 20 days imprisonment.
- On their third conviction, they will be subject to minimum fine of $4,000 and a minimum of 60 days imprisonment.
Additionally, any person convicted of boating while intoxicated will also lose their drivers license for a minimum of 30 days and have their boat forfeited.
Any person operating a boat on Alaska waters is deemed to have given consent to a test to determine if they are impaired by drugs and/or alcohol, if requested to do so by law enforcement.
Alaska’s Law Enforcement Authority
Alaska’s boating laws are enforced by:
- State peace officers, including Alaska State Troopers and State Park Rangers.
- Officers of the Alaska Department of Public Safety.
- Coast Guard boarding officers.
Whenever approached by an officer, boaters must stop, or slow to a speed sufficient for safe steerage only, and permit the officer to come alongside to check for registration and safety equipment. While safe boaters will find these officers both helpful and professional, violators can expect to be cited.
Alaska’s Laws for Reckless or Negligent Boat Operation
A person may not operate a boat on Alaska’s waterways for recreational purpose or another purpose, or tow waterskis, a surfboard or a similar device in a reckless or negligent manner so as to endanger to life or property of another person. Additionally, in Alaska, it’s illegal to operate a boat that is not equipped with the required safety equipment.
Keep in mind that if you own a boat and lend it to someone else, you will be held responsible for any damages or injuries that occur while the other person (the boat borrower) is operating your boat. Additionally, if the person operating your boat is an immediate family member, it will be assumed that you have given them your consent to operate your boat.