Kentucky's Boating While Intoxicated (BWI) Laws and Penalties

Read about the consequences—including fines and jail time—of boating while intoxicated (BWI) in Kentucky.

Kentucky law prohibits operating any motorboat or vessel while intoxicated by drugs or alcohol. The term “vessel” includes every type of watercraft except a seaplane. A person can be convicted of boating while intoxicated (BWI) (also called "boating under the influence" (BUI)) in Kentucky for operating a watercraft while:

  • under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or a combination of the two to a degree that it affects the person’s ability to operate a boat
  • having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or greater, or
  • having any concentration of certain controlled substances—including cocaine and methamphetamine—in the body.

BWI Penalties

The consequences of a Kentucky BWI depend on the circumstances of the case. But generally, the consequences are:

  • First offense. A first-offense BWI carries $200 to $250 in fines.
  • Second offense. A second-offense BWI carries $350 to $500 in fines.
  • Third offense. A third-offense BWI carries $600 to $1,000 in fines and/or not less than 30 days in jail.

All BWI offenders also must complete a state-approved safe-boating course.

Talk to an Attorney

If you’ve been arrested for or charged with boating under the influence in Kentucky, get in contact with an experienced BWI attorney. The facts of every case are different. A good BWI attorney should be able to explain how the law applies to the facts of your case and help you decide on your best course of action.

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