Michigan Boating and Alcohol Laws

Michigan Boating LawsAre you planning to open that bottle of ice-cold beer while on your boat this summer?

The sun is shining, the birds are singing and it is time to set sail on the wonderful lakes Michigan has to offer. There is nothing better than relaxing at sea. In Michigan, there are different drinking and driving laws on the water than on the road that you need to be aware of. When driving a boat, how many drinks can you have? What happens if you have too many? Remember, simply by driving your boat on Michigan waters, you have already consented to be tested for drugs and alcohol.

According to the Michigan Boating Handbook, it is prohibited to drive a boat while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The handbook goes on to define “boating under the
influence”.

Editor’s note: For changes in Michigan’s boating laws for 2015, please see: Michigan Boating Laws and Alcohol Limits for 2015.
  • For 2012, if your blood alcohol content is 0.10% or greater by weight of alcohol as determined by breath, blood or urine test, you are considered to be under the influence of alcohol.
  • If you blood alcohol content is great than 0.07% but less than 0.10% by weight of alcohol as determined by a breath, blood, or urine test, a law enforcement office can consider that fact along with other evidence in determining if you are under the influence.

If you are brought in on a drinking and boating charge, you risk being guilty of a misdemeanor. On the third conviction within a 10 year period, you risk being guilty of a felony. If you are boating and drinking and cause “great bodily injury or death of another person”, you face a felony.

While enjoying your summer days out on the lake, make sure to keep in mind how much alcohol you are consuming. Alcohol effects on the water can be different on land. By keeping the law in mind, you can spend time enjoying the beautiful weather instead of spending time in jail.

If you are facing a drinking and boating charge you do not have to face it alone.
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