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Discussion Starter #1
For the past several years since turning 21, I have always taken along a cooler with a couple beers (less than a 6 pack) in it when I'm floating down a creek or river. No intents on getting hammered or anything close. I just enjoy some good brews while floating. Up until recently, it never occurred to me that there were laws regarding things like this (duh!). A quick search revealed that laws are similar to DUI.... 0.08 or over, and you are done for. That is simple enough. But it as cut and dry as that? Is having an open container on a boat...specifically a canoe...legal? Does one have the right to refuse breath test or blood test if accused? Any other technicalities to this?

I'm not asking bc I'm some sort of party hearty sort of guy, or bc I want to walk the line. I'm looking to legally and responsibly combine some things that I enjoy.

Thanks,

Micah
 

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PA has no open container law for any boat or watercraft.

I am just going on assumption that refusal of a field sobriety test on the water will net you the same results as on the road.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
But what exactly do they hold over you? On the road it's an automatic suspension of your DL. I don't have a boating license. Maybe a fishing license...idk.

I can't say as I imagine I'd ever refuse. More just a conversation piece.
 

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just be careful....don't want a CUI on your permanent record.....
 

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Alcohol & Boating

When on a boat, the effects of alcohol are magnified. Combined with stresses from wind, motion and heat, your ability to think and perform basic tasks needed to safely operate your boat may become impaired. It is illegal to operate a boat while under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance.<span style="font-weight: bold"> Alcohol is prohibited on land and water at all state parks and at most U.S. Army Corps of Engineer projects. </span>Pre-arrest breath tests can be used by officers to determine the probability that a boat operator is under the influence. A blood alcohol content of 0.08% or more is considered to be over the legal limit (0.02% blood alcohol content for minors). Penalties include loss of boating privileges, significant fines and imprisonment.
 

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Here's a link to check. drinking on the canoe would be considered "operating" the canoe. however, if you don't slam them like a college student and just drink a couple through the course of the day you should be fine. We go to Raystown quite a bit and have a cooler on the boat for guys fishing. I'm driving the boat, so I may have one while we are fishing every so often. All in moderation.

http://www.fishandboat.com/drinking.html
 

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Speaking from a technical point of view, I'm guessing that having the open container while on the water would be illegal. Shouldn't be anything wrong with pulling up on the bank to have lunch or wade and having a cold one as long as you take your empties with you.
 

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While running the boat I only drink water but those with me can drink all they want. Open bottle rule dosent seem to apply as long as you pass breathalyzer test.
I am not 100% sure but in Jersey I think the DUI would go against my driving license. To avoid any issues I wont drink on the water. We go out to dinner or drinks by boat and I have never been stopped. Marine police would most likely have stopped you for some other violation to get to a BUI charge like speed, wake or unsafe operation.
 

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quackmaster4 said:
Speaking from a technical point of view, I'm guessing that having the open container while on the water would be illegal.
Oddly enough....... no.

There is no open container law for boating in PA.

I DO NOT drink alcohol AT ALL when operating my boat. NO FRIGGIN" WAY !!!! But....... my passengers are more than welcome to enjoy in good moderation.

I specifically asked a waterways patrolman about the law. He said "you can drive by me and toast me with a bottle of Bud and I can't pull you over". What he DID say was that he CAN pull me over for any number of smaller probable causes, THEN possibly do a field sobriety test if he feels it's needed. But the operator with an open container is NOT probable cause.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I think for the most part my question was answered. No worries about slamming them down...I enjoy what I drink too much for that. And as for state parks, army corp of engineers land, etc I don't regularly canoe these waters....unless someone could make a case for the allegheny river being corp waters bc it comes from a corp lake??

I am also specifically referencing a canoe or small john boat w/nothing more than an electric motor. No rowdy parties on board for me ;-)

Thanks for all the replies guys!
 

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Ive been involved in many a raft up on raystown, bunch of boats, tied and anchored together, and got down right drunk, but once I was anchored I stayed anchored, nothing like a margarita on a hot summer day. I know they would sit on the hills and watch people partying and then nail the ones that drank all day and then pulled anchor and left. With a cabin cruiser, there was no reason to ever leave.
 

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Ghost said:
Ive been involved in many a raft up on raystown, bunch of boats, tied and anchored together, and got down right drunk, but once I was anchored I stayed anchored, nothing like a margarita on a hot summer day. I know they would sit on the hills and watch people partying and then nail the ones that drank all day and then pulled anchor and left. With a cabin cruiser, there was no reason to ever leave.
That's how the SMART boaters roll !!!


Especially on Raystown !!!! You GOTTA be 150% straight and paying attention out in the channel of Raystown on a weekend day !! If you aren't, you're gonna end up in trouble. Stuff on that lake that'll catch up & pass you so fast you don't even know WHERE it came from !! VERY heavily patrolled on holiday weekends, too.
 

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We used to always have a couple coolers full of beer when we floated and camped the bottom Yough. Just pack your trash out and don't get hammered and you should have no problem.
 

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I was always under the assumption that it had to be a vessel under power..aka motor..Not human...


I do know of a guy that got a DUI in DE for being under the influence while mowing his grass on a riding mower..Go figure...
 

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I'm pretty sure I'm correct in saying a canoe, that is not motorized, doesn not fall under the BUI category. Does operating a bicycle while impaired apply ? Not 100% sure, but....
 

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I was with a group canoeing and kayaking down the Allegheny river when we were checked by the Fish and Boat Commission and one of the members was hauled off for a blood test and in fact charged with a DUI. He was in a canoe with nothing but a paddle.
 

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Fleroo said:
I'm pretty sure I'm correct in saying a canoe, that is not motorized, doesn not fall under the BUI category. Does operating a bicycle while impaired apply ? Not 100% sure, but....
A canoe is a watercraft for BUI purposes. A bicycle is a vehicle for DUI purposes. So, yes, you can be arrested for operating either while "impaired" from drugs or alcohol or for being above the .08 BAC limit.
 

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Thanks for the update, though I don't agree with it. I think that may be a bit overzealous, stretching the entire "under the influence" thing a bit too far. I can see the hazards of a boat under motorized power, I can see the hazards of a car, truck, train, plane, etc... under motorized power. But a bicycle or canoe ? It seems you are simply a hazard to yourself. This is also why I don't like the seatbelt law. Don't get me wrong, I wear a belt all the time, but an adult (18+) should be able to make that decision for themselves. Not an adult, then yes, it should be mandatory.

I believe there are laws in place that can adequately address being drunk and/or beligerent on a bicycle or canoe ? Public Intoxication comes to mind ?
 
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