Safe and Legal Boating

Summer presents the perfect opportunity to get out and go to the lake with friends and family. Tahoe and the surrounding lakes in the Washoe County area provide an excellent place to lounge in the sand, ride jet skis, go boating, or go on a hike. Roughly 2.7 million people visit Tahoe per year making it quite the scene for summer fun and excitement. Tahoe offers a plentiful selection of beaches to visit and trails to hike.

If alcohol is involved with any of these activities, it is vital to be aware of the possible consequences you encounter if you find yourself facing a jet ski or boating DUI.

Lake Tahoe is shared between California and Nevada. It is important to keep in mind whether you are in the California territory or Nevada territory due to the laws differing between the two states. For example, in California alcohol sales are not allowed between 2 AM and 6 PM, whereas this is not the case in Nevada.

There are a variety of regulations in Nevada to be mindful of:

  • Operating any water craft while under the influence of alcohol is against the law regardless of the age of the driver.
  • Proper certification is required to operate a watercraft in Nevada. A course and subsequent exam costing approximately $30, are necessary to certify your watercraft. And proper documentation is required to have on-hand if a law enforcement officer requests it.
  • If a law enforcement agent observes behavior they believe may be related to substance use or abuse, they may stop the vehicle and request a test. This test cannot be denied.
  • An average boating DUI may be considered a misdemeanor, however; when more severe circumstances are involved, this can become a felony charge.
  • Not adhering to the restrictions surrounding a boating DUI is similar to a normal DUI, in that, it can incur fees – and in other circumstances can result in jail time.

The repercussions of being in the water operating a vehicle under the influence are quite similar to those of being in a motor vehicle on land.

Jet skis and sail boats fall under these regulations when it comes to watercrafts as well. Jet skis cannot be pulled behind a boat with a driver who is 14 or under without an adult present.

It has been found that in 30 percent of fatalities resulting from boating under the influence the BAC (blood alcohol content) of the operator was greater than .01%. To ensure you and your family have a great time while boating, it is important to make sure the experience is safe not only for your family, but for others as well.

A DUI in Tahoe can turn what was meant to be a fun family outing into a serious encounter with the law. Always keep in mind the regulations of the area in which you are boating.