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Rough Seas Ahead: The Dangers Of Boating Under The Influence

Residents of Pennsylvania have the fortune of being able to enjoy the pleasures of boating in the many nearby lakes and rivers. Although the summer has ended, the boating season is still alive. Both avid and casual boaters need to keep in mind the severe penalties for boating under the influence of alcohol or drugs before making a decision to pilot a boat.

In Pennsylvania, boating or “operating watercraft” under the influence (BUI) carries similar penalties to those imposed for DUI (driving under the influence). Both have a three-tiered blood alcohol concentration (BAC) system that calls for imprisonment based upon the level of the BAC and number of previous convictions.

However, two significant differences exist between BUI and DUI. One is that the person convicted of boating under the influence must attend a boating safety course, rather than a highway safety course. The second, and most important difference, is that the defendant does not lose his or her driver’s license.

Convictions for boating under the influence calls for the following incarceration and financial penalties:

First Pennsylvania BUI Offense

BAC .08 – .099

  • 6 months of probation
  • $300 fine

BAC .10 – .159

  • 48 hours mandatory, and up to 6 months in jail
  • minimum fine of $750, with a maximum of $5,000

BAC .16

  • 72 days mandatory, and up to 5 years in jail
  • $1,500 fine

Second Pennsylvania BUI Offense

BAC .08 – .099

  • 5 days mandatory, and up to 6 months in jail
  • minimum fine of $300, with a maximum of $2,500

BAC .10 – .159

  • 30 days mandatory, and up to 6 months in jail
  • minimum fine of $750, with a maximum of $5,000

BAC .16

  • 90 days mandatory, and up to 5 years in jail
  • $1,500 fine

Third Pennsylvania BUI Offense

BAC .08-.099

  • 10 days mandatory, and up to 2 years in jail
  • minimum fine of $500, with a maximum of $5,000

BAC .10-.159

  • 90 days mandatory, and up to 5 years in jail
  • minimum fine of $1,500, with a maximum of $10,000

BAC .16

  • 1 year mandatory, and up to 5 years in jail
  • minimum fine of $2,500
Leckerman