Are BUIs and DUIs Legally Treated the Same?

Many know what DUI stands for, but if you are not familiar with traveling on the water, you may not know the meaning of BUI. Boating Under the Influence (BUI) deals with many of the same dangers as drunk driving, but some view drinking alcohol while operating a boat as more acceptable than drinking then driving a car. Additionally, while having open containers and the consumption of alcohol is illegal in motor vehicles, South Carolina permits having open containers of alcohol aboard boats.

Drunk Boating Accident Near Party Island Results in Death of Two Children

Little Boy Tricycle WreckA recent fatal boating accident in Anderson County sheds some light on the dangers of drinking and boating. The owner and driver of a 19-foot deck boat has been charged with two felony counts of BUI after a 9-year-old boy and a 5-month-old infant drowned when the boat she was operating capsized.

According to authorities, of the 12 people on the boat, all the adults appeared to be intoxicated at the time of the accident. Thompson refused to speak with investigators and refused to perform a sobriety test following the capsizing. Deputy Coroner for Anderson County Don McCown said of the accident, “This happened because of driver error.”

What Is the Legal Blood Alcohol Content for South Carolina Boaters? 

Boating and driving vehicles are subject to the same blood alcohol limit of .08 percent in South Carolina, but officers at the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) admit that the laws and penalties for boating under the influence are more lenient than traditional DUI.

For one, it takes a lot less alcohol for boat operators to feel intoxicated. Sgt. Kim Leverich of the DNR calls this phenomenon “boater’s fatigue,” which is caused by a combination of effects from the wind, water current, and the glare from the sun that can slow reaction time. “Then you mix that with a little alcohol, you’ve got a dangerous situation,” Leverich told WPDE-TV.

Drinking and driving, whether in a car, boat, truck or other mode of transportation never ends well. When someone else’s careless actions hurt you and your family, you probably have a lot of questions about what the next steps need to be to protect your rights and best interests. If this sounds like your situation, talking with an attorney in Columbia about what you are going through can help ease any of the legal stress you may be facing. Our firm offers free consultations to help answer your questions.

Proffitt & Cox, LLP – Columbia Boat Accident Lawyers



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.