Can you get a DUI on a Kayak?

It is very important to be aware of laws and regulations related to paddling in different countries. However, it can be difficult for many paddlers to stay informed of all the laws and regulations related to paddling. Therefore, I have started a legal series for you guys, starting with the most common query of a paddler: can they get a DUI or BUI on a kayak?

I’m sure you don’t want to be caught paddling while under the influence, so I have put together this guide to help you better understand the rules and regulations of kayaking in different regions.

DUI, BUI, Kayak laws, DUI kayak laws

Can I Get A DUI When Kayaking?

Yes, you can get a DUI or BUI when kayaking!

Get here: Some of the Best Kayaks

What exactly DUI or BUI is?

Some of you might not be familiar with the terms DUI or BUI, so let me describe them for you.

DUI stands for driving under the influence, and BUI stands for boating under the influence. DUI or BUI is issued when a law enforcement officer suspects someone is operating a vehicle or vessel under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

The officer will test the suspect’s BAC (blood alcohol content) to determine the blood alcohol level.

USA and Canada

It is against the law to operate a vessel when drunk in all 50 states of the USA.

The minimum blood alcohol level in most states is 0.08%, but in some states, such as Colorado and Wyoming, it’s as high as 0.10%.

However, I would recommend checking the state laws related to alcohol as penalties for breaching these laws can include fines, revocation of operation license, and even a jail term.

Canada has strong laws against kayaking while under the influence of alcohol.

Australia and New Zealand

There are laws related to paddling in Australia, and kayakers in Australia are supposed to abide by these rules. Being drunk or intoxicated while operating any vessel in Australia is illegal.

In New Zealand, you are prohibited from operating a vehicle while being in charge of a vessel.


In the UK, it is legal to operate a vessel while consuming alcohol, as alcohol legislation applies to vessels that are longer than 23 feet. However, you may face prosecution if you are found to be impaired while being on a kayak.

Adverse Impacts of Alcohol on Water than Land!

Paddling while being intoxicated or drunk has adverse impacts as compared to being drunk on land. There are lots of other factors that can easily impair your cognitive awareness.

The wind, water, and waves can make you tired and may contribute to a low level of awareness. With these factors combined, you may become intoxicated very quickly as compared to on land.

You may lose your balance while paddling, which can be very dangerous in the middle of the lake.

As we all know, alcohol lowers the body temperature while on land, and it can be dangerous when you are on the water in cold weather with low body temperature.

There is a common thing that boaters go through called “boater’s hypnosis,” which means you will have impaired senses on water as compared to on land, even when you are sober. Adding alcohol could add to the risk of injury or accident.

Summing Up

That’s all about some of the laws related to alcohol and other drugs, and I’m sure you found it helpful. Don’t forget to share this guide with other paddlers.

I recommend not paddling while under the influence of alcohol or drugs as it may have severe adverse effects on water as compared to land.


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