Boating and Alcohol: The Laws

Boating and alcohol consumption laws vary from state to state. In North Carolina, it is illegal to operate any boat (this includes motorized boats, personal watercraft, waterskis, sailboats, sailboards or other similar devices) while under the influence of an impairing substance, such as alcohol or drugs.

Boating and alcohol

In North Carolina, a person is considered to be under the influence/intoxicated if:

  • They have a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) level of 0.08 or higher.

In North Carolina, any person convicted of operating a boat while under the influence will be subject to significant fines and or imprisonment

North Carolina’s Law Enforcement Authority

North Carolina’s boating laws are enforced by:

  • North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission Wildlife Enforcement Officers.
  • Department of Natural Resources officers.
  • Coast Guard officers.
  • Any other authorized law enforcement.

Law enforcement have the authority to stop and board boats to ensure they are complying with state and federal laws. Refusal to follow direction provided by law enforcement is illegal. Any person who has received an audible or visual signal from law enforcement is required to stop their boat.