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Boating and use of drugs or alcohol in California

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.

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