Can You Get A DUI On A Kayak? (The Answer Will Surprise You)

can you get a dui on a kayak

To be honest, I find this question amusing and perplexing at the same time. At first, I was really clueless that this kind of concept exists in the world of kayaking. After all, who would ever think that traffic rules are also applicable to water routes?


However, you have put this thing into account whenever you are kayaking. You see, many people out there love to paddle just to experience the leisure of the wild. Of course, you can have a good time afloat if you have something to drink. For some, the booze will certainly ooze the experience.

But hey, do you have any idea if "driving under the influence" is still applicable to boating? If none, then you have to read this guide. You would never want to break the rules of the state or region that you are in.

I will get straight to the point. The answer to this question is yes. Many countries and states around the world today have strict imposition regarding this rule. Generally, individuals who are operating any type of marine vessel will be apprehended if they are caught under the influence of alcohol.

However, DUI is not really the proper term here. Those that have been charged with this offense broke the "boating under the influence" policy. The latter is the very infringement that you are going to face once you persist on drinking while boating.

Don't ever take this one lightly. It is an illegal offense, after all. It is directly punishable by law. You will also be required to pay certain amounts as fine. If you don't want to the time and fine, don't ever do the crime.

Can You Get A DUI On A Kayak?

United States and Canada

Both these countries have raised their apprehension against drinking alcohol while you are riding a marine vessel. In the United States, all of its states have this policy. There are many kayaking sites in the US, but none of them will make you exempted from this law. Therefore, don't be hard-headed and just follow the rules.

Usually, a person will be apprehended with this crime if the alcohol level on his blood reaches 0.08%. Meanwhile, other states like Wyoming and Colorado will require you not to exceed the 0.1% blood alcohol level.

If you are within these regions, I do recommend that you check out the respective laws of their states. In this way, you will be aware of the policies and the things that you should avoid while you are kayaking. Just like I said, the penalties are not that light. If you are an operator of kayaks, there's a risk that you will your license. The worst punishment is imprisonment. That's not worth your time.

Of course, Canada has the same restrictions when it comes to drinking alcohol while you are boating.

United Kingdom

Things are quite lighter when you are kayaking in the United Kingdom. Apparently, the United Kingdom allows kayakers to drink alcohol as long as their vessel doesn't exceed the length of 23 feet. Their BUI only takes place if you are driving a vessel of more than that length. However, always keep in your mind that if the authorities see you being wasted on your boat because you have been intoxicated by alcohol, you will have a bad time.

New Zealand and Australia

Both New Zealand and Australia are great spots for kayaking and canoeing. But at the same time, they still have strict policies when it comes to drinking while boating. They do not allow operators or boaters to drink while they are on the vessel. Even if you are just a recreational boater, the policy still applies. The size of the boat doesn't matter either. As long as they will catch you doing the act, they are going to penalize you.

New Zealand, specifically, has rigid policies for vessel operators. Regardless if you are in yacht, kayak, or paddleboard, their drinking law still applies. Once they have proven that you are under the influence of alcohol while operating these marine vehicles, you will get prosecuted.

Hazards of Boating Under The Influence

We all know that alcohol can severely affect our senses and judgment. I don't need to emphasize that thousands of road accidents yearly are caused by drunk driving. It is quite hazardous because you are not only risking yourself but also your passengers and the drivers around you.

Other people say that this rule is ridiculous because there's no traffic in rivers or lakes. At first, it might sound a valid point. But you shouldn't take it too seriously. After all, you cannot paddle well if you are drunk. You cannot drive your boat properly if you are already intoxicated. There’s a possibility that you are going to drown. Drunk boaters have a high chance of ramming their boats to rocks, which can cause the vessel to sink.

Another risk of boating while under the influence is that it prevents the kayaker from following kayaking rules. If the boat gets capsized because of strong waters, it is difficult for the drunk paddler to get back up. Alcohol can also impede your senses. It will prevent you from being cautious of your surroundings. If there's a low-head dam ahead of you, you'll never gonna see it.

It is always proper for all paddler to prohibit themselves from drinking, especially if they are on the water. Your abstinence can keep you safe throughout your journey. You can remain alert to avert any types of dangers along the way.


Can you get a DUI on a kayak? The short answer is YES! Most of the prime destinations for kayaking and canoeing implement this particular law. It is done to ensure that no deleterious accidents can happen because of alcoholism.

It is better to stay sober so that you can enjoy your journey fully. You are far from danger if your mind and body are on their top shape.

That's it for now. If you have questions or suggestions, feel free to drop them in the comment section.

Check out some of my other kayaking resources and guides:

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