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Operating under the influence of drugs and alcohol in Virginia

All boaters who operate in Virginia must follow its laws regarding the use of drugs or alcohol. 

These laws apply to the operation of a vessel in the same way as vehicules have to obey the rules of the road.

Virginia law prohibits the operation of a boat by an operator with blood alcohol concentrations of .08% or more.  

"Implied Consent" states that by operating a boat, the operator is agreeing to submit to a breath and/or blood test to determine the amount of alcohol and/or drugs in your blood.

"Zero Tolerance" prohibits persons younger than 21 from consuming alcohol and operating a watercraft with any measurable alcohol level (established at 0.02 percent).

If a person is convicted of operating a vessel under the influence of alcohol or drugs, the following penalties or both could apply:

  • Imprisonment for up to 12 months
  • Fines up to $2500

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