Florida Legal Information - Steven deLaroche
Frequently Asked Questions - Boating in Florida

Criminal Defense, Business Law, and Family Law from an experienced attorney in Port Orange, contact Steven deLaroche, Attorney at Law at 386-947-0909.

Boating Under the Influence in Florida (BUI)


With 1,350 miles of general coastline*, and ranking second only to Alaska in shoreline length, Florida is a boater’s paradise. If you include the mileage from outer coast, offshore islands, sounds, bays, rivers, and creeks, Florida offers an additional 8,436 miles* for boaters – and you don’t need a license to operate a recreational craft.

That’s the great thing about living in Florida.

What’s not so great is that Florida also leads the nation in annual number of boating deaths, including both seasoned boaters and the thousands of tourists that flock to our waterways every year. Alcohol, excessive speed, inattention, and inexperience are the four most prominent causes of fatal accidents. Unfortunately, these are usually present in combinations that all but guarantee a tragic boating accident.

You may not know that Boating Under the Influence (BUI) carries most of the same penalties as Driving Under the Influence (DUI). The same Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of .08 in Florida for a driver 21 or over will result in BUI charges. Don’t let underage drinkers drink, either. Their BAC only has to be .02 to be illegal. The U.S. Coast Guard can pull you over and board at any time, for any reason. Don’t resist. The Coast Guard is responsible for the safety of your boat, as well as those around you. They can inspect you, or the vessel, without seeing you do anything wrong.

If you refuse to submit to any sobriety tests, you will be subject to a minimum $500 and 50 hours of community service. An arrest for boating BUI in Florida can lead to a criminal record, probation, possible incarceration, fines, court costs, community service, alcohol courses, and your boat being impounded.

If you are pulled over, in control of the boat, and are charged with a BUI, whether “native” or tourist, you need an experienced and tenacious Daytona Beach criminal defense attorney to represent you. For tourists, this means you may not have to come back to appear in court.

You can’t afford to be convicted of a BUI. Don’t go this alone. Let’s talk about your case. Call me as soon as possible at (386) 947-0909 for the best criminal legal representation you can find in Central Florida.


*US Coast Guard 2015 Recreational Boating Statistics