Do Boats Have Open Container Laws?


If you’re an avid boater you may be wondering, do open container laws apply out on the water? Well, the answer to this depends based on state laws. Different states have a variety of restrictions in place to keep traffic on the water safe and fun for everyone to enjoy.

What Is An Open Container Law

An open container law is typically a law that prohibits and restricts the immediate accessibility of consuming alcohol concerning the operation of a motor vehicle. The purpose of open container laws is to reduce the number of people who drink and drive to help ensure the safety of the surrounding community.

Boat and Open Container Laws In Idaho

According to the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation, “Open containers are allowed on a boat, but the same rules that apply to drinking and driving also apply to drinking and boating as far as impairment.”

This means that if you are operating a boat while impaired, you can be charged with Operating Under the Influence (OUI). The legal limit for OUI is 0.08% blood-alcohol content, which is the same as Driving Under the Influence (DUI) on land.

However, there are no restrictions to having alcohol on board. While you are out on the water your passengers are free to consume alcohol, but the operator must remain sober.

Alcohol and Boating Safety

When consuming alcohol on a boat, it is important to practice safe and responsible boating habits. This includes wearing life jackets, having required safety equipment, practicing good boat speed control, and using proper navigation.

The last thing we want is for a passenger under the influence to fall overboard. A day on the lake is supposed to be fun and safe, so make sure to take all necessary precautions for a safe and enjoyable trip.

What Watercraft Does This Apply To?

Boats aren’t the only watercraft out on the lakes, so what does this mean for them?

The same regulations mentioned above are applied universally across any vessel capable of being used for transportation on water. This includes motorboats, sailboats, canoes, kayaks, Stand Up Paddleboards (SUPs), and pontoon boats.

No matter what type of watercraft you’re using, it is important to remember the open container laws that apply to the state you are in. Even if your passengers are drinking alcohol, the operator should remain sober at all times to ensure everyone’s safety.

The information provided in this article does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information, content, and materials available in this article are for general informational purposes only.