Indiana Boating Laws
It has been extremely hot and humid this summer in Indiana. Luckily, there are a few bodies of water in the central Indiana area that you can jump in and cool down in (Morse Reservoir, Geist Reservoir, or the White River). Before you try to find a way to cool down, the DUI attorneys at Banks & Brower want to share a little bit of information with you.
Boating is one of the ways a Hoosier can cool down and still have fun with family and friends outside. You can attach a tube to your boat, attach your boat to other boats and idly float by, or you can just cruise around the water. It can be the perfect activity, for adults of age, to consume a few of their favorite alcohol beverages and have a fun time in a responsible way. But boating is not just all fun and games.
Someone operating a motor boat that has been consuming too many alcoholic beverages are treated the same as someone who is operating a car and/or truck after consuming too many beverages. If an individual is operating their boat with at least 0.08 grams of alcohol but less than 0.15, they are committing a Class C misdemeanor in the state of Indiana. If that individual is operating their motor boat above a 0.15 level, then it is a Class A Misdemeanor. Even worse, if that same individual has prior OWI convictions, they can be charged with a more serious criminal felony charge.
Indiana OWI statutes apply to the operation of all-terrain vehicles. Further, under Indiana Code 9-13-2-196, the definition specifically includes “watercraft” vehicles. A criminal conviction resulting from an OWI can lead to your privileges of operating a motor vehicle being suspended.
Be extra careful operating your motor boat on holiday weekends during the summer. Memorial Day, Fourth of July, and Labor Day are considered some of the more dangerous weekends both on the water and road for accidents involving alcohol. Take extra care to use defensive boat operating skills during these weekends, and be aware that local law enforcement officials will be on high alert to identify boaters who are under the influence.
Finally, when enjoying your time on the water, please make sure all passengers use or have the chance to use a life jacket.