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Open Containers in Boats

Unlike cars, it is not illegal to have an open container of alcohol or open alcoholic beverage on a boat. It is just illegal to operate the boat while intoxicated.

While it is not illegal, boaters should still exercise judgment when taking advantage of the privilege to sit on the boat and have a beer that does not exist with a car. Even at .035% BAC, a boater’s skills for safe boating are impaired. Because it takes so little alcohol to impair any captain’s ability to ferry his or her passengers to safety, it may be a good idea for the captain of the boat to remain completely sober.

This does not mean that the boat has to be dry, so to speak. Passengers are allowed to have open containers of alcoholic beverages with them without putting the captain at risk of receiving a ticket. While it is true that it is legal, the risk of a passenger falling overboard and either being injured or dying goes up with alcohol intake. It has been shown that a passenger that has had even one drink may not have the ability to distinguish from up and down once thrown overboard.

So while it is legal for passengers to drink while onboard boats, it may not be the best plan for anyone on board to consume anything. Also, unruly actions by passengers within view of police may lead to the police investigating the boat. It is never a good idea to give a police officer a reason to be suspicious or start looking around.

Contact a Rhode Island DUI Defense Lawyer

If you have been accused of boating while intoxicated due to the antics of passengers, contact the Rhode Island DUI defense lawyer Matthew Marin at 401-287-4384 to discuss your situation and to determine the best plan for a successful defense.