Under Kentucky’s boating under the influence act, individuals are prohibited from operating any type of watercraft in a manner that is reckless or negligent to the extent that it endangers the life or property of another.
Watercraft devices include motorboats, vessels, and water skis. Recklessness is a legal term regarding one’s state of mind while engaging in certain conduct. To be reckless is to act with indifference towards the consequences of one’s actions, especially with regard to the safety of other persons or property.
Recklessness is considered more severe than ordinary negligence – the other type of behavior referred to in the opening lines of Kentucky’s boating under the influence statute. Negligence is also a legal term and is comprised of four elements: duty, breach, causation, damages. In terms of boating, one has a duty to boat safely in accordance with the rules and regulations of the waters designed to protect boaters, property, and persons.
A breach of this duty of safe boating occurs when one operates a watercraft or device in a manner that endangers the life or property of another. This breach must be the actual and proximate cause of damages inflicted upon the life or property of another. Causation is about traceability – the occurrence of an identifiable sequence of events justifying the determination that a certain party was liable. If damages result, whether, in the form of a personal injury or property damage, the liable party has then acted in a negligent manner and can be held responsible.
Table of Contents
BUI Testing Employs The Same Technology As DUI Testing
As with persons who operate motor vehicles on Kentucky’s roads, persons who operate a watercraft in Kentucky are considered to have consented to state-approved blood alcohol level (BAL) testing designed to ascertain the alcohol concentration or the presence of other drugs. This assumption of permission is a variation of the legal doctrine of implied consent.
In the boating under the influence context, implied consent functions as an unspoken trade-off – that, by operating a watercraft on the state’s water, a person impliedly agrees to BAL testing when there exists a probable cause. Probable cause means those facts and circumstances, known to the officer, would lead a reasonable person to believe a crime has been committed. In the BUI context, the erratic speed or path of a watercraft, or the presence of alcohol on board, would provide probable cause for BAL testing.
Penalties For Boating Under The Influence In The State of Kentucky
Penalties for boating under the influence in the state of Kentucky are a factor of both whether the incident was a first-time or repeat offense and the nature and extent of any damage caused to persons or property. Fines, community service, license revocation, court-ordered alcohol or substance abuse treatment program attendance, and jail time are all possibilities.