Many Californians revel in an outdoor lifestyle, driving in the sunshine or under the moonlight with delightful, comfortable temperatures year-round. What happens when the driver adds alcohol or other intoxicants to the day’s excursion? 

Whether you are feeling the salty breeze through your sunroof or beneath a bimini top, you can consider these tips to ensure a trouble-free journey. 

Understand local regulations

Boat and automobile drivers follow specific rules of the road or waterway, most of which are in place for the safety of the drivers, passengers, and surrounding community. California boating regulations cite the importance of following speed limits and age restrictions to avoid potential mishaps, and roughly 50% of the fatal boating accidents in the state identify alcohol as a contributing factor. It is illegal to drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and the blood alcohol level limit is .08 for drivers of vehicles and vessels alike. 

Learn your rights as a driver

Regardless of the means of transportation, drivers have certain rights that may protect them from unwarranted searches or accusations. For example, probable cause should exist for law enforcement to initially pull over a car, boat, bicycle, or other motorized vehicle. Also, with suspected alcohol or drug use, drivers may select a breath or blood test; if they refuse testing, they could face fines and possible license suspension. Be mindful and educated as you travel, as each state has its own set of BUI and DUI policies, processes and penalties. 

By understanding the local laws and your rights in the driver’s seat, you can be better prepared for a worry-free trip on the water or roadways.