Floating While Intoxicated

August 2, 2012


Do you think a raft and a boat are one in the same? A river raft and a motor boat do not pose the same danger in my mind, mainly because one has a motor and one doesn’t.  I can’t imagine a raft being able to cause the same amount of damage as a motor boat. I also don’t see someone “driving” a raft, but the state of Alaska sees things a little differently.

Under Alaska’s DUI law, a person operating motor vehicles, water crafts or airplanes under the influence a re in violation of the law.  Apparently a raft is a “water craft” and operating a water craft means “to navigate a vessel used or capable of being used as a means of transportation on water for recreational or commercial purposes on all waters, fresh or salt, inland or coastal, inside the territorial limits or under the jurisdiction of the state.”

William Modene found this out the hard way, when he was arrested for having a blood alcohol level was 0.313, almost 4 times the legal limit to operate a vehicle, while he was on a raft in the river.  He had been floating for days and drinking while floating, not quite drinking while boating or even driving while intoxicated.

Do you think DWI or BWI should apply to vessels without a motor? Should these offenses be limited to vehicles that are actually operated by driving and powered by a motor? Maybe Alaska should create a new offense: Floating While Intoxicated. What do you think?