Boating While Intoxicated Ohio
17 Feb
Author: Colin Maher
Date: 2016-02-17
Categories: Traffic

Consequences for Boating While Intoxicated in Ohio

In the United States, alcohol use is the number one contributing factor in boating deaths according to the United States Coast Guard statistics. In addition, alcohol use is among the top five contributing factors in boating injuries and accidents. Due to this safety concern, officials are on the lookout for those boating under the influence.

Boating under the influence of drugs or alcohol is illegal in Ohio. Boating While Intoxicated, or BWI, is every bit as serious as Driving Under the Influence (DUI currently known as OVI or Operating a Vehicle While Impaired). Many fail to recognize how serious this charge can be and the implications it might have in the rest of your life. 

One important distinction between DUI and BWI is that an enforcement officer may stop any boaters without cause due to the safety issues surrounding operating watercraft. Officers may conduct a safety inspection randomly, putting you at risk of arrest if you have been drinking and are operating a boat. If law enforcement officers have a reason to suspect the boat operator is intoxicated, the officer may expand the inspection to include a field sobriety check.

It should be noted that refusing to submit to a chemical test (blood, breath, or urine) to determine whether you are intoxicated could result in the Ohio Department of Natural Resources prohibiting you from registering or operating a watercraft for 12 months.

Penalties for boating under the influence are similar to DUI/OVI penalties, with a few exceptions. Since there is no requirement to have a license to drive a boat, there’s no license suspension penalty. Below is a chart which will give you some idea of a few of the State imposed penalties for a BWI conviction.

Columbus, Ohio DUI Penalties



Penalties & Fines

Mandatory Minimum Fine

First Offense

3 days to 6 months

$250 to $1,000


Second Offense

10 days to 1 year

$350 to $1,500


Third Offense

30 days to 1 year

$350 to $1,500


Fourth Offense

60 days to 1 year

$800 to $10,000



Do you need a DUI Lawyer in Columbus, Ohio?

If you have been arrested for boating under the influence, you need to do everything you can to mount a defense against these charges. You need the representation of a skilled, experienced DUI attorney who can help you navigate the treacherous landscape. The Maher Law Firm can help make sure that your rights are protected. Founding attorney, Colin Maher is a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) certified practitioner for field sobriety testing, which is the same training police officers take. This training helps him evaluate and challenge the evidence collection involved in the field sobriety test process. Call The Maher Law Firm today for a free consultation at 614-205-2208 or contact us online.


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