Doral, Florida, is only about 14 short miles from Miami Beach, making this popular destination easily accessible. It is also close to other recreational waterways. As you might expect, boating is a popular activity for residents and visitors alike.
It may surprise you to learn that taking a boat onto the ocean or a lake means that you must comply with Florida boating laws. Unfortunately, not many people realize that boating requires compliance with state laws.
Just like driving a car
When you choose to drive your car, you know that violating traffic laws could lead to an expensive ticket. The same is true when boating. If you ignore boating laws, you will likely get ticketed just as you would for a traffic violation.
Boating while intoxicated by alcohol or drugs is just as serious an offense as driving while intoxicated. Possible penalties for boating under the influence (BUI) include:
- First offense: Up to six months of jail time and (or) fines approaching $1,000
- Second offense: Up to nine months of jail time and (or) fines approaching $2,000
- Third offense: Months to years of jail time and (or) fines approaching $5,000
One difference between BUI and DUI is the open container rule. Unlike the laws for motor vehicle violations, you may have opened alcohol containers on a water vessel. However, the boat operator is not permitted to drive the watercraft while intoxicated.
The state encourages residents and visitors to explore the Florida coastline or one of its many beautiful lakes from onboard a boat. If you plan to participate in a boating excursion, protect yourself by learning more about state boating laws and violations.