Boating Under the Influence in Tennessee

boating

Tennesseans love their time on the water while using their boats and other personal watercrafts. But Tennessee updated their Boating Under the Influence (BUI) Laws in 2021 to reflect the seriousness of this offense. We at Best and Brock, PLLC understand how easy it can be to lose yourself in the summer fun and slip up, resulting in major legal issues.

TCA §69-9-217 captures the intent of the legislature in defining the confines of BUI laws within the state of Tennessee. The same statute also requires that implied consent to a test of either blood, breath, or urine exists for any person who “operates any vessel subject to registration or any commercial vessel as defined in this section on the public waters of the state[.]” Similarly to DUI laws, the statute only requires the enforcing officer to have “reasonable suspicion” of intoxication to compel compliance with the testing. The biggest difference in the update is the requirement of jail time associated with convictions. They mirror the DUI penalties beginning with a mandatory jail time of 48 hours.


Boating Under the Influence 1st Offense carries the following penalties:

i. Guilty of a Class A Misdemeanor, carrying with it up to 11 months and 29 days in a County Jail/Workhouse; and

ii. A fine, with a minimum of $250.00 and a maximum of $1,000.00; and

iii. Suspension of boating license for one (1) year.


Boating Under the Influence 2nd Offense carries the following penalties:

i. Guilty of a Class A Misdemeanor, carrying with it up to 11 months and 29 days in a County Jail/Workhouse; and

ii. A fine, with a minimum of $500.00 and a maximum of $2,500.00; and

iii. Suspension of boating license for two (2) years.


Boating Under the Influence 3rd or more carries the following penalties:

i. Guilty of a Class A Misdemeanor, carrying with it up to 11 months and 29 days in a County Jail/Workhouse; and

ii. A fine, with a minimum of $1,000.00 and a maximum of $5,000.00; and

iii. Suspension of boating license for a time frame not less than three (3) years and more than ten (10) years.


Beyond these penalties a court, in its discretion, may order the Guilty party to complete public work days or community service in addition to any of the aforementioned.

It is a defense to a BUI charge if your vessel is moored.

If you, or a friend or family member has found themselves in trouble with the TWRA or other law enforcement entities in relation to Boating Under the Influence (BUI) our team of top-tier Criminal Defense attorneys are standing by to step in and assist you with your legal issues. For a free consultation reach out now to Best and Brock, PLLC!

Categories: 
Related Posts
  • Hashing Out the Differences Between ‘THC,’ ‘CBD,’ and Delta-8 Read More
  • 2022 Tennessee Bar Association’s Leadership Law Program Read More
  • What is a Georgia 1205 Form - ALS Suspension? Read More