Short answer: Yes. Just like drunk driving, operating a motorized boat is illegal if your blood alcohol concentration is above the legal limit. In Wisconsin, if your BAC is .08 percent or higher, you can be charged with intoxicated boating.
Whether you’re a state resident or a visitor, mixing any kind of motor vehicle activity with our state’s strong drinking culture can turn a fun afternoon out on the water into a dangerous situation both legally and otherwise.
Wisconsin's waterways are not outside of the law. A relaxed attitude around drinking and boating is exactly what makes intoxicated boaters prime targets for conservation wardens and police patrols who regularly scan the waters for signs of suspicious drivers.
In 2019, 132 boaters were cited for boating under the influence of alcohol in Wisconsin. Law enforcement devoted more hours to boating activities than ATVs and snowmobiles combined.
Below, we've answered the common questions about BUIs in Wisconsin and what to do if you or someone you know is facing charges.