Maui News

Coast Guard Cracks Down on Boating Under the Influence

June 25, 2016, 2:47 AM HST
* Updated June 25, 3:49 AM
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Coast Guard and local law enforcement are participating in the 8th annual nationwide, multi-agency Boating Under the Influence education, detection, and enforcement campaign, that began on Friday and continues through Sunday, June 26, 2016.

The goal for Operation Dry Water is to educate the public and significantly reduce the number of alcohol related, accidents, injuries, and deaths among recreational boaters nationwide.

Hawaiʻi law prohibits anyone from boating while intoxicated — that is, operating a vessel while under the influence of intoxicating liquor, narcotics, or other habit-forming drug. Alcohol and drugs cause impaired balance, blurred vision, poor coordination, impaired judgment, and slower reaction times. Alcohol is a major contributor to boating accidents and fatalities.

Hawaiʻi law states that a person is considered to be boating while intoxicated if they have a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent or more within four hours after the time of the alleged violation.


Under Hawaiʻi law, the penalties for boating while intoxicated include a fine of not less than $50 nor more than $1,000, imprisonment for up to 30 days, or both a fine and imprisonment.


By operating a vessel on Hawaiʻi waters, boaters have consented to be tested for alcohol or drugs if requested by a law enforcement official.

Since 2014 all individuals who operate a motorized vessel in Hawaii’s state waters must have taken a boating safety course and be able to show proof of certification. The regulations for compliance with BWI laws are a part of this course.

Coast Guard, Hawaii Department of Natural Resources conduct Operation Kohola Guardian patrols off Maui

Coast Guard, Hawaiʻi Department of Natural Resources conduct Operation Kohola Guardian patrols off Maui. File photo 2.11.16 (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Chief Petty Officer Sara Mooers/Released)

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