Maine's Boating Under the Influence Laws

Read about Maine’s boating under the influence (BUI) laws and the consequences of a conviction.

Maine law prohibits operating or attempting to operate a watercraft while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. A person can be convicted of boating under the influence (BUI) for operating a watercraft while:

  • impaired by alcohol or drugs, or
  • having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or greater.

(Me. Rev. Stat. tit. 12, § 10701(1-A)(B) (2016).)

BUI Penalties

The consequences of a Maine BUI conviction depend on the circumstances of the case. But generally, a BUI is a class D misdemeanor and the possible penalties are:

  • First-offense BUI. A first BUI typically carries $400 to $2,000 in fines and up to one year in jail. There’s also a minimum 48-hour jail sentence if the boater had a BAC of .15% or greater, failed to yield to an officer, or refused to submit to chemical testing in violation of Maine’s implied consent laws.
  • Second-offense BUI. A second BUI generally carries $600 to $2,000 in fines and seven days to one year in jail.
  • Third-offense BUI. A third BUI generally carries $1,000 to $2,000 in fines and 30 days to one year in jail.

For purposes of determining whether a BUI is a second or subsequent offense, only prior convictions within the past six years count. (Me. Rev. Stat. tit. 12, § 10701(3) (2016); Me. Rev. Stat. tit. 17-A, §§ 1252, 1301 (2016).)

In addition to the other penalties, a judge can order any BUI offender to participate in substance abuse education and treatment. (Me. Rev. Stat. tit. 12, § 10701(3)(D) (2016). 

BUI in Maine’s Tidewaters

Boating under the influence in the tidewaters or offshore waters of Maine is a class E misdemeanor. Convicted boaters face up to $1,000 in fines and a maximum six months in jail. (Me. Rev. Stat. tit. 17-A, §§ 1252, 1301 (2016); Me. Rev. Stat. tit. 38, § 284 (2016).)


Sentencing law is complex. For example, a statute might list a “minimum” jail sentence that’s longer than the actual amount of time (if any) a defendant will have to spend behind bars. All kinds of factors can affect actual punishment, including credits for good in-custody behavior and jail-alternative work programs.

If you face criminal charges, consult an experienced criminal defense lawyer. An attorney with command of the rules in your jurisdiction will be able to explain the law as it applies to your situation.

Talk to an Attorney

The consequences of a Maine BUI are serious, and the facts of every case are different. If you’ve been arrested for boating under the influence, get in touch with an experienced BUI lawyer. A qualified attorney can explain how the law applies to the facts of your case and help you decide on the best course of action.

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