The common reference to BUI is Boating Under the Influence. Our friends at the Department of Natural Resources, the Coast Guard, or the sheriff’s department are typically the ones enforcing the boater safety laws out there on the water. We all know people love to spend a fun, sunny day on the water. Whether you are offshore fishing (those that get sea sick will typically drink to combat the sea sickness, among other remedies), inshore fishing for redfish or whatever fish our great local captains (I’m looking at you Captain Peter Brown, Legare Leland, Jamie Hough, etc…) put you on, or anchored off a barrier island for the day with friends and/or family, the chances are that some of the inhabitants or crew on the boat are partaking in adult beverages. Jimmy Buffet wrote a great song about it- "Boat Drinks." These days (especially during COVID) boat sales are through the roof. In many cases you have to order a boat and wait for it to be shipped in. Boating and golfing seem to be the most popular outdoor activities for having fun while staying relatively safe from COVID. Boat sales are at an all-time high and the Lowcountry waters of South Carolina are inundated with boaters- some experienced and some just learning how to navigate around Crab Bank without running aground. Add in one too many alcoholic beverages and you could find yourself in a dangerous situation. The cases I have seen usually involve too many drinks and boating too fast at night- making poor judgment calls and crashing into a buoy or channel marker.
Here is the low down on Boating Under the Influence:
Without getting into breath or blood or urine alcohol/ ethanol levels and presumptions of impairment, I will just say this– you may be given field sobriety tests, hopefully not while on the boat as that would compromise the tests. You can comply with taking the tests or refuse. If you were to be found guilty of BUI, you could lose your boating privileges for 6 months. For a second offense you could lose boating privileges for a year and face jail time.
Long story short, drink responsibly and operate your boat responsibly. Educate yourself on the waters you will be navigating. Constantly look around while driving your boat. Understand the tides and what the tides are doing on the day you have a crew in your boat on the water. And basically be respectful of everyone on the water. And part of that is not operating the boat impaired. It is just not safe. Have fun and have a great day on the water!!