Kayaking is a quintessential summer recreation. However, it springs up a common question Can You Get a DUI on a Kayak?
Given that, you are a kayaker or looking to take it up as a hobby, you must take into consideration the do’s and don’ts of kayaking.
As a lot of people might ask, what is DUI law?
Let me make it clear to you:
A DUI stands for ‘driving under influence’. Specifically, alcohol in most cases. You can be charged with a DUI if you are found paddling a kayak while drunk.
So, if you are considering taking a booze on the cruise. Think again!
Table of Contents
- Can You Get a DUI While Kayaking? Laws and Regulations For 5 Countries
Can You Get a DUI While Kayaking? Laws and Regulations For 5 Countries
In most places in the world, you will surely get a DUI whilst kayaking.
Let me brief you the laws and regulations regarding drinking and kayaking in the following 5 countries:
In Canada, a kayak is referred to a ‘vessel’, hereby same laws are followed for a kayak as any other motor vehicle.
When will you be considered ‘under influence’?
You are considered ‘under influence’ if your BAC (blood alcohol concentration) is 0.8 mg or more. Even though some get affected by alcohol more than the others, surely, the law remains the same for all.
The laws in the United States of America are slightly vague when it comes to boating laws. Henceforth, the decision is made regarding breaking of the law on a case-by-case basis.
How many accidents are reported in America while gearing a kayak?
According to the USA statistics, nearly half of the boating fatalities chiefly involve the use of alcohol!
This rule applies in over 50 states of America.
Australian law is not tolerant towards anybody drinking on a kayak. For this reason, it requires all kayakers to follow the same rules as of any other water vessel by all means necessary.
4. New Zealand
The New Zealand laws are similar to the ones implemented in Australia.
Therefore, there is no debate on the fact that the New Zealand government can prosecute you if you are caught drunk while operating any kind of vessel, including a kayak.
5. The UK
In contrast, the UK laws are different from the ones in the USA, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand. Surprisingly, getting drunk and kayaking is legal, and you do not get a DUI for it.
Why is that so?
Because, you can be charged with a DUI only if your vessel exceeds the 23 feet mark.
Bingo! A kayak is way less than that.
Although this may be true, however, getting too drunk can get you arrested anyways. What a bummer!
What are the dangers of Kayaking whilst under influence?
Point often overlooked is that there is an inherent possibility of risk in doing anything whilst you are drunk, let alone operating a kayak.
It not only impairs your vision but also blurs your awareness for a situation, making you a hazard not only for yourself but also for people around you.
First and foremost, you need to know how your body reacts to intoxication.
5 Biological Effects of Alcohol on the Body:
- Firstly, it slows down your reaction time more than usual.
- Secondly, it increases effects of hypothermia (a state where your body loses heat faster than it can produce heat, causing abrupt decline in body temperature)
- Reduces visual attention and hearing.
- It instantly creates a false sense of confidence that leaves you less able to cope with unexpected events.
- It leaves you with poor judgment.
Hence, the above 5 biological effects can result in the following 6 problems leading to injuries and at times death.
Dangers of Manning a Kayak Whilst Drunk- List of 7 Problems:
You might come across the following challenges if you gear a kayak after getting intoxicated.
You may find yourself:
- Comparatively non-cooperative towards your friends, teammates, as well as partners.
- Together with making bad and hasty decisions.
- Additionally, it might make you unaware of the kayak sinking.
- Furthermore, not being able to communicate properly.
- Moreover, you may overlook possible hazards like submerged tree branches in the water.
- Similarly, one tends to turn a blind eye towards precarious marine life and snakes as well.
- Above all, the most frightening course of events can be a collision.
How Can You Avoid Getting a DUI? – 5 Tips and Tricks:
Of course, it is not impossible to avoid getting a DUI on a kayak.
Just follow the following 5 tips mentioned below:
Tip 1: Kayak while Sober:
With the intention to remain sober, do not drink beverages with alcohol content in them while kayaking.
Tip 2: Sleep well the night before:
For the purpose of staying active, make sure that you are well-rested prior to kayaking otherwise you will exhaust yourself early on.
Tip 3: Celebrate Post-Kayaking:
If you want to drink on your day out, drink as much as you want as soon as you are done paddling.
Tip 4: Consume non-alcoholic beverages:
Even though everybody enjoys having a drink on their excursion, especially where it requires you to kayak.
It is important to realize that:
Regardless of that, it will be wise for you to choose your drink wisely. Stock up on some chilled juices, alcohol-free beer coupled with a few soft drinks so that you are good to go.
Tip 5: Abide by the law:
However, make sure that everyone manning a kayak is aware of the rules and regulations. Spend some time researching the laws enforced in your country regarding working a kayak.
What is the penalty for a DUI on a kayak? – Fine and Imprisonment:
What must be remembered is that, the punishment for breaking the marine law varies from country to country, and from state to state.
With this in mind, following is a range of application of penalties in the 5 countries mentioned above:
|Contravention||Country||Average Fine ($)||Jail Time|
|First Offense||Canada||Minimum of 600||-|
|USA||Minimum of 600||-|
|Australia||Over 1,868||At least 3 months|
|New Zealand||Over 1,868||At least 3 months|
|Second Offense||Canada||600 and above||At least 14 days|
|USA||600 and above||At least 14 days|
|Australia||Over 3,736||At least 9 months|
|New Zealand||Over 3,736||At least 9 months|
|Repeat Offender||Canada||1000 - 3000||At least 3 months|
|USA||600 and above||At least 3 months|
|Australia||Over 8,007||At least 6 months|
|New Zealand||Over 8,007||At least 6 months|
|Extenuating Circumstances||Canada||1000 - 3000||At least 90 days|
|USA||600 and above||At least 90 days|
|Australia||Over 8,007||Charged as Felony|
|New Zealand||Over 8,007||Charged as Felony|
We learn that:
When we compare the laws and regulations of the USA with Canada and of New Zealand with Australia, they are pretty much the same. Whereas the rules and regulations for the United Kingdom are dissimilar.
Say No to Alcohol:
If you are the one operating a kayak, then the best bet is to avoid alcohol completely.
That is to say, alcohol lowers your basal body temperature to a dangerous level especially in cold weather, where falling in the water can increase the risk of accident, injury or even drowning.
All in all, I hope this article answered your question, ‘Can You Get a DUI on a Kayak?’ in much detail. The simple answer being, YES.
To emphasize, most of the countries around the globe charge a DUI to a person violating the ‘Don’t drink and kayak’ rule. In short, stay sober and stay safe. Do not risk the chances of not being able to kayak for the foreseeable future.