Boating and Alcohol: The Laws

It is illegal in the state of Oregon to operate, propel or be in actual physical control of any boat while under the influence of an intoxicating liquor or controlled substance. It is also illegal to knowingly permit a boat to be operated by any person who is under the influence. Any operator who demonstrates signs of being impaired by alcohol or drugs is subject to arrest.

In Oregon, a person is considered to be intoxicated if they:

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

Boating and alcohol laws in Oregon

A person who is convicted of operating a boat while under the influence will be subject to the following penalties:

  • A fine of up to $6,250 and/or jail time for 1 year.
  • The loss of operating privileges for 1 year.
  • Requirement to complete a Boating Safety Course.
  • The cancellation of boat registrations in their name for up to 3 years.

Implied Consent

Any person operating a boat on Oregon waters is deemed to have given consent to submit to a test or to tests to determine if they are impaired. Law enforcement can request that an operator submit to testing if they have reasonable grounds to believe that the person is under the influence.

Refusal to submit to sobriety testing can be used as evidence against you in the case of a trial.

Oregon’s Law Enforcement Authority

Boating laws in Oregon are enforced by:

  • Oregon State Police Officers.
  • County Sheriffs.
  • Some municipal police officers.
  • The USCG.

Enforcement officers have the authority to stop and board boats to conduct an inspection and ensure that operators are in compliance with equipment and documentation requirements.

Operators are legally required to comply with enforcement authorities when signaled to do so, by stopping their boat and allowing the officer to come alongside. Operators are also required to slow their boat down to the slowest speed possible while still maintaining steerage, whenever they see a blue flashing light and/or hear a siren.

Operators are required to steer well clear of these boats and they may only increase the speed of their boat when they are well out of the area with the law enforcement boat.