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NJ Boating While Intoxicated (BWI)

New Jersey’s vast shoreline makes it a haven for boating enthusiasts and recreational boaters. However, many people do not realize that boating while intoxicated is against the law. The penalties for boating while intoxicated (BWI) are just as severe as the penalties for driving while intoxicated (DWI).

New Jersey’s BWI laws

Under New Jersey state law, boating under the influence is defined as operating a vessel on any waterway, including the ocean, lakes, rivers, inlets, lagoons, streams, or canals, while:

  • Having a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% for a recreational water vessel
  • Having a BAC of 0.04% for a commercial vessel
  • Having a BAC of 0.01% for aquaplanes and water skis
  • Being under the influence of drugs
  • Refusing a breath test

BWI cases are heard in municipal courts, just like DWI cases. Although it is a non-criminal violation, a BWI conviction still carries a multitude of penalties.

Penalties for BWI

BWI cases are heard in municipal courts, just like DWI cases. Although it is a non-criminal violation, a BWI conviction still carries a multitude of penalties.

Jail Sentence Driving License Suspension Boating License Suspension Fines Surcharges
1st Offense (BAC .08-.099%) up to 30 days 3 months 1 year $250-$400 $3,500+
1st Offense (BAC over .10%)1 up to 30 days 7 months -1 year 1 year $300-$500 $3,500+
2nd Offense 2-90 days 2 years 2 years $500-$1,000 $3,500+
3rd Offense 180 days 10 years 10 years $1,000 $5,000+