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Operating Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs Prohibited in Ohio

Can I drink alcohol while boating?

Boaters who operate in Ohio are subject to its laws regarding the use of drugs or alcohol.

It is forbidden to operate or be in physical control of any vessel underway, or manipulate any water skis or similar device, if you are under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs (including prescription drugs).

It is illegal to operate a boat while having a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of 0.08 or more. You will be deemed incapable of operating a watercraft in a safe manner if you are under the influence of alcohol, a controlled substance or other drugs or any combination thereof. If you operate a boat while having a BAC of less than 0.08, you may still be prosecuted if there is other evidence of impairment to prove you were operating under the influence.

If you are under 21 years of age, it is an offense to operate a vessel while having a BAC of 0.02 or more. It is an offense for persons under the age of 21 to purchase, possess, consume, or be under the influence of alcohol.

By operating a vessel, water skis or similar device on Ohio waters, you are deemed to have given consent to a chemical test or tests of your blood, breath, or urine to determine alcohol or drug content if arrested. If you refuse a chemical test while under arrest, you will be prohibited from operating a vessel or water skis or from registering a vessel for one year. If you are also the owner of the vessel, the registration certificate and tags will be impounded for one year.

There are serious consequences of operating under the influence of alcohol, drugs or controlled substances in Ohio. If you are convicted of any one of these offences you are subject to a fine, the possibility of jail time, or both.