Something that many people don’t consider a serious issue is drinking aboard smaller watercraft. While the wide open stretches of New Jersey’s coastal areas and even those inland waterways may not seem to have the same “dangers” as Garden State roadways, there are similarities. And while small craft captains up and down the Jersey Shore know that boating season is here to stay for the next few months, it’s wise to remember also that New Jersey’s law enforcement agencies and the United States Coast Guard (USCG) are watching for potential drunken boating.
Before one casts off and powers out into the surf, take time to be sure that all your safety equipment is in order and that your passengers are aware of emergency procedures. Meanwhile, scan the horizon because you are likely to find a sheriff patrol boat not far away. It’s sometimes difficult as a captain of a small vessel not to take part in the onboard revelry, but this is a potentially dangerous move, especially if alcohol is being served.
No matter where you may be cruising, from Cape May to Atlantic City or Sandy Hook, New Jersey State Police are constantly on the lookout for intoxicated boat operators. And, while boating offers a much more rewarding experience above and beyond that of driving the interstate, captains can be cited for DWI just the same as their land-based, four-wheel kin. Make no mistake, being arrested for boating under the influence (BUI, for short) can be just as costly an experience as drunken driving is on land.