Kentucky is home to so many outdoor recreational destinations. For some people enjoying time outdoors camping, hiking, or kayaking also includes adult beverages but can you get in trouble if you drink and kayak?

Operating Intoxicated

Most anyone over the age of 16 knows the law when it comes to drinking and driving. Regardless of the state or whether you call it a DUI, DWI, or OWI, there are steep fines, penalties, and even jail time that coincide with being arrested for operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated.


What Is the Legal BAC in Kentucky?

In Kentucky, the legal limit is a blood alcohol content of 0.08%.  A first-time offender (i a 10-year window) can face the loss of driving privileges for six months, as well as a mandated alcohol or substance abuse program, according to the Official Website of the Common Wealth of Kentucky.

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Boating While Intoxicated Is Illegal in Kentucky

It is illegal to boat and drink too and you can be arrested for this as well. In Kentucky, boating while intoxicated (BWI) with a BAC of 0.08% or higher is illegal. Additionally, it is illegal to consume alcohol in public in Kentucky, and in the eyes of the law, this includes state waterways.

attachment-Kentucky Boating While Intoxicated Law

Can You Operate a Kayak or Canoe in Kentucky If You've Been Drinking?

But what about drinking and canoeing or kayaking? It turns out, your boat or watercraft doesn't have to have a motor.. Kayaks and canoes are also considered a boat and even though they are not motorized it is illegal to drink while using one of these vessels. According to, it is illegal in all 50 states, including Kentucky to operate a vessel if you have consumed alcohol or other intoxicants.

What Kind Of Penalties?

According to Kentucky law, the penalty for operating a kayak, canoe, or other watercraft while intoxicated is a fine up to $250 for the first offense. Additionally, in Kentucky operating any type of boat, watercraft, or vessel allows law enforcement to request a drug or alcohol test.

By operating a vessel on Kentucky waters, you have consented to be tested for alcohol or drugs if requested by a law enforcement official. - Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources

Always Play It Safe

In addition to getting caught and prosecuted, there is the risk of injury to yourself and others. The risk far outweighs any reward you might find in cracking open a cold one while you float in a kayak or canoe so why risk it?


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