Boaters operating in California are subject to its laws governing the use of drugs or alcohol. No one is allowed to drive a boat while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and operating a power craft in this way is a criminal offense.
Operating any vessel, personal watercraft, water skis or similar recreational equipment while intoxicated is against the law. Alcohol and drugs impair judgment and coordination — two qualities essential for safe boating.
If a boater has a blood alcohol level of 0.08% or higher, he/she shall be considered to be under the influence of alcohol.
Anyone convicted of operating a vessel while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs is liable to a fine of up to $1,000 and/or one year in the county jail.
Evidence of a level of at least 0.05%, but less than 0.08%, can be used by authorities, along with other evidence in order to determine if the person was operating a watercraft while intoxicated by alcohol.
If a person is under 21, that person may not operate a watercraft if it is operated with any measurable alcohol level (set at 0.01% or higher).
It is recommended that neither boat operators nor passengers drink alcoholic beverages while boating.