Close X

BUI, BWI, and International Waters, How Charges Work

BUI, BWI, and International Waters

The laws governing boats in international waters are sometimes confusing to many maritime enthusiasts. These waters, appropriately known as the high seas, require a greater degree of knowledge in order to safely operate a boat of any size. Accordingly, boaters must be especially careful in the open waters. Yet as a person becomes familiar with these waters they may feel safe enough to drink alcoholic beverages while operating their watercraft. Boating while intoxicated is a serious crime that carries considerable penalties whether in U.S. or international waters.

If you have been charged with a boating offense, contact the Seattle DUI defense attorneys of the Cowan Kirk Law Firm today at 866-822-1230 for a free consultation and legal advice.

How Do These Charges Work?

Alcohol and boating are incompatible in any waters. If a person is caught by a law enforcement agency while on international waters, generally measured out at a rough distance of 50 miles or so from the coast, and is found to be operating a vehicle while intoxicated, penalties can still apply. Charges may have the following consequences:

  • US registered boats return to the US justice system for punishment
  • US laws naturally extend to international laws due to registration location
  • Laws that cause serious damages are extended to international waters
  • Generally, the flag flown on the boat informs legal expectations

As a result, Coast Guard operators may issue BUI or BWI tickets once in contact with intoxicated boaters. In addition, a captain can be charged if they drink on international waters, but return to US seas while still intoxicated.

Contact Us

For more information regarding your rights in a BUI or BWI case, contact the Seattle DUI defense attorneys of the Cowan Kirk Law Firm by calling 866-822-1230.

Cowan Kirk Kattenhorn

Cowan Kirk is known throughout Washington and the nation for representing all of its clients with commitment, creativity and compassion. We recognize how devastating a DUI charge can be, particularly when our clients learn how incredibly tough Washington's DUI laws have become, even for a first-time offender.

Contact Us

If you need a DUI defense attorney in Seattle, Bellevue, or King County, contact us today to find out why respect for our clients, a passion for justice, and our commitment to winning have earned each of us the highest honor a member of the bar can receive from our colleagues – their referrals.