Can you get a DUI on a Kayak?

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

I am sure you don’t want to caught up while paddling drunk; therefore, I have put forward this guide that can 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 Term DUI or BUI so let me describe it for you.

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

The Officer of Law test the BAC (Blood alcohol content) of suspect in order to determine the blood-alcohol level.

USA and Canada

However, it is against the law to operate the vessel when drunk and it applies to all 50 states.

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 you to check the state laws related to alcohol. In case of breach some of the penalties are fines, revocation of operation license and even 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 as well 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 to operate vehicle while being in charge of a vessel.


In UK, it is legal to operate a vessel while consuming alcohol as alcohol legislation applies to vessel that are longer than 23 feet.  You may face prosecution if you found impaired while being on 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 low level of awareness. With these factors combine, you may be intoxicated very quickly as compared to on land.

You may loose your balance while paddling which can be very dangerous in the middle of the lack.

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

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

Summing up

This was all about some of the laws related to alcohol and other drugs and I am sure you must have found it helpful. Don’t forget to share this guide with other paddlers.

I would recommend you not to paddle while being under the influence of alcohol or drugs as it may have severe adversities on water as compared to land.


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