Seafair "Impaired Boating Emphasis" begins August 2

Monday, July 29, 2013

New BUI (boating under the influence) laws went into effect on July 28

The Washington State Patrol and cooperating agencies are preparing for the annual Impaired Boating Emphasis, August 2-4, 2013, as part of the Seafair activities on Lake Washington. City, county, state and federal law enforcement agencies will converge in an effort to improve water safety through impaired boating enforcement.

As with similar enforcement emphasis in the past, the staging area for the event will be at Proctor Landing on Mercer Island. The WSP Mobile Impaired Driving Unit (MIDU), temporary detention facilities and prisoner support vehicles will be available to assist in the processing of boaters suspected of Boating Under the Influence (BUI) or other crimes involved with unsafe usage of watercraft.

Boating Under the Influence is similar to Driving Under the Influence (DUI) in that the legal limit is .08 or under the influence and/or affected by drugs.  New BUI laws that went into effect on July 28 include:

  • BUI becomes a gross misdemeanor, punishable by a maximum fine of $5,000 and up to 364 days in jail.
  • Law enforcement will be able to require operators suspected of BUI to take a breath or blood test.     
  • Law Enforcement will have the authority to issue citations to vessel operators during the investigation of collisions/accidents they did not witness, thus holding negligent and reckless boaters more accountable.

Previous Seafair BUI Emphasis Weekends:

  • 2008: 83 BUI arrests.
  • 2009: 110 BUI arrests.
  • 2010: 59 BUI arrests; 463 vessels were contacted. 
  • 2011: 70 BUI arrests; 536 vessels were contacted.
  • 2012: 61 BUI arrests; 693 vessels were contacted.


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