You are likely already aware that drunk driving on Las Vegas highways is illegal. If an intoxicated motorist were to crash into you, you would be able to pursue financial compensation. The person would also face criminal charges.
However, did you know that drunk driving laws also apply to water activities? Drunk boaters also cause accidents and can receive charges.
Nevada BUI laws
In Nevada, it is illegal to operate a boat, a vessel, water skis, a surfboard or another recreational device while under the influence of alcohol and/or a controlled substance. This includes having a BAC of 0.08% or higher (drugs fall under a different measurement) or showing impairment regardless of the number.
Additional dangers on the water
Drinking comes with more dangers for those who are on the water than for those who are on land, shares the Nevada Department of Wildlife. Dehydration is a significant factor because it leads to reaching a higher BAC faster. Just because a couple of drinks at a bar does not lead to impairment does not mean a couple of drinks on a boat will lead to the same results.
Second, the rocking motion of the waves increases the risk that an intoxicated person will lose balance and fall overboard or off a recreational device.
How to stay safe
It can be hard to tell if a watercraft operator or other person on the water is drunk. The signs of a drunk motorist may not apply since guides such as lanes and traffic lights are not present. Further, many people are good at hiding impairment.
It is best to keep your distance from others and stay alert of danger. This means you should not drink while operating on a boat either. If another boater crashes into you, follow the same protocol as you would on the road: seek medical attention, call for help, gather information from the other person and notify your insurance of the accident.