One way to stay safe in the summer is to avoid operating a watercraft while under the influence of alcohol. In the state of Connecticut, this is a crime known as BUI, or boating under the influence. If you have a boating license in Connecticut, please read on for more information!

Connecticut BUI Laws

The Connecticut Boater’s Guide and the Connecticut General Statutes outline the crime of BUI. These statutes claim that no person can operate a watercraft or a boat in Connecticut if they are under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Since this law  passed, the penalties for BUI have increased in the state of Connecticut.

In 2003, the BUI laws changed to mirror the DUI laws in Connecticut. To be considered under the influence of alcohol, you must have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or higher. This BAC will result in a BUI arrest. As a boat or watercraft operator under the age of 21, you face arrest for BUI if your BAC is at or above .02%.


If convicted as a first time BUI offender, you face a fine of $500-1,000 and the suspension of your boating license for one year. In addition, you face a jail sentence of six months, 48 hours of which cannot get reduced or suspended. You also face a period of probation and 100 hours of community service.

If convicted of a second BUI offense (within 10 years of the first one), the penalties increase. You will face a fine of $1,000-4,000, a three-year suspension of your boating license, probation with 100 hours of community service, and a prison sentence of two years, 120 days of which can’t get reduced or suspended.

If you are convicted for a third or subsequent BUI (within 10 years of your last BUI conviction), you face a fine of $2,000-8,000, permanent revocation of your boating license, probation with 100 hours of community service, and a prison sentence of three years, one year of which cannot be reduced or suspended.

Just as with DUI offenders, refusing to submit a chemical test will result in additional penalties. This means that you should always submit to a test. It is actually better to fail a chemical test than to refuse it.

As you can see, consuming alcohol and operating a boat or a watercraft is a serious matter. If you plan on boating this summer, you should refrain from drinking alcohol on your boat. If you have been arrested for a BUI and you are unsure how to proceed, please give me a call at 888-523-9384. I have handled BUI cases throughout the state of Connecticut and can help you build your defense.