Is it Legal to Have Alcohol on a Boat in New Hampshire?
New Hampshire state boating laws
DO allow alcoholic
beverages and open containers to be aboard a boat and passengers to be drinking
alcoholic beverages on a boat in New Hampshire at the time this
article was written.
It is a NH boating law that is not well known, somewhat hidden for obvious
reasons. But there is more to it....
NH BWI Laws Are Strict, Be Sure to Read This Entire Article!
More about NH Boating Laws and alcohol on private boats...
It's not a good idea to have alcohol on a boat, as the driver of the
boat will be
suspected of being intoxicated as well. Also, intoxicated passengers can become unstable and fall overboard. Being intoxicated
doesn't make swimming easy and a passenger can easily drown. If NH
Marine Patrol sees you have alcohol on your private boat and people
are drinking, you can be certain that the captain of that vessel
will be getting a BWI test. When you get a BWI test from Marine
Patrol, they know that the effects of alcohol are magnified by being
in the sun and on a rocky boat. These things contribute to further
The Boating While Intoxicated law in New Hampshire
is very firm, more so than the Driving While Intoxicated laws in New
Hampshire. By boating in New Hampshire, you automatically consent to
a sobriety test, refusal to take this test is actually another
offense altogether and can be used as evidence against you.
Like NH's DWI laws, if your blood alcohol concentration is .08% or greater you are
considered to be under the influence of alcohol. If your blood
alcohol concentration is greater than .03%, but less than .08%
combined with other evidence, this can be used to determine that you are
under the influence of alcohol
in the State of New Hampshire.
Boating while intoxicated
will get you arrested
for DWI (BUI), your boating permit revoked for at least one
year, it will go on your NH motor vehicle driving record and you can
also lose your license to operate a motor vehicle for between 9
months and 2 years. And don't forget about the fine and humiliation
of being taken from your boat, placed in handcuffs, put in the back
of a cruiser, taken to the police station, fingerprinted, photos
taken, sitting in a cell, getting bailed out,
hiring a NH DWI attorney/NH BWI lawyer, appearing in court and possibly getting your name
listed in the local NH newspapers. If you have a minor under the age
of 16 in your boat at the time, you will also be required to stay at
a sobriety house for 7 days at your expense. That means a loss of
income, time off from work, not being at home for your family and
even further humiliation. If you cause the death
of another person, you can be charged with murder in a New Hampshire
court. So plan your "Booze Cruise" around safety and make sure no
one who is under the influence is driving the boat.
Passenger Safety While Drinking Alcohol
in a Boat:
If passengers in your boat are drinking, or are
already intoxicated, ask them to wear a life
jacket. Make it a rule (well ahead of time) that
if people are drinking or are intoxicated, that
they must wear a lifejacket. You can make it a fun
event by decorating life jackets, take their
picture with the funny lifejacket on. There are
ways to make it fun, while really keeping your
friends and family safe. You wouldn't let them
drive a car drunk and you wouldn't let them
stand on the side of a cliff drunk, so don't let them get in your boat
drunk without a life jacket on!
50% of all boating accidents are a result of
Boating While Intoxicated
Having alcohol in a boat in New Hampshire is
legal and also a privilege (not many of those
left these days), so help keep it legal by
protecting those in your boat. Every injury,
accident, arrest and death will contribute to
the laws changing. Let your passengers drink and
if you would like to drink, be sure you have a
licensed boater become the designated driver!
Be sure to check for any current updates to
these laws or recommended safety precautions.
Also check to see if drinking alcohol or having
an open-container in public is legal in your
town or city!
Boating Education Classes
NH Boat Dealers