Boating and Alcohol: The Laws

Boating and alcohol laws vary from state to state. In Arkansas no person shall operate any motorized boat while they are under the influence of alcohol, drugs or a combination thereof.

In Arkansas, a person is considered to be under the influence if:

  • They have a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) level of 0.08 or higher.
  • They are under the influence of alcohol.
  • They are under the influence of any drug or a combination of drugs and alcohol.
  • The have a BAC level of 0.02 or higher and are under 21 years of age.

Boating and Alcohol

In Arkansas, a person convicted of operating a motorized boat while under the influence will be subject to the following penalties:

Upon a first offense, they may receive a fine of up to $1,000 and up to 1 year in jail. In addition, the court shall order the person not to operate a motorized boat for a period of 90 days.

Upon a second offense, if within a 3-year period of the first offense, they may receive a fine of up to $2,500 and up to 1 year in jail. In addition, the court shall order the person not to operate a motorized boat for a period of 1 year.

Upon a third offense, if within a 3-year period, they may be fined up to $5,000 and up to 1 year in jail, to include a minimum of 60 days which shall be served in the county or municipal jail and that shall not be probated or suspended. In addition, the court shall order the person not to operate a motorized boat for a period of 3 years.

More severe penalties exist for additional convictions.

 

Implied Consent

Any person operating a boat on Arkansas waters shall be deemed to have given consent to a chemical test or tests of their breath, blood and urine for the purpose of determining the alcohol content of their blood and the presence of any abused substance or controlled dangerous substance. The testing may be required of a person when an officer has probable cause to believe the person is operating under the influence.

 

Arkansas’ Law Enforcement Authority

Arkansas’ boating laws are enforced by:

  • Enforcement officers of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.
  • Sheriffs and deputy sheriffs.
  • State Police Officers.
  • Enforcement officers of the Department of Parks and Tourism.
  • The Coast Guard (on federal waters).

Law enforcement have the authority to stop and board boats to ensure they are in compliance with state and federal laws. Law enforcement officers may also investigate any boat accident or violation. They may also ask the operator to return their boat to the dock upon investigation.

Refusal to follow direction provided by law enforcement is illegal.

START NOW