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  1. #1
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    Jul 2009
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    Default Drinking Alcohol While Tubing or Canoeing on a River

    My question involves criminal law for the state of: South Carolina

    A few of my friends have discussed tubing down the river.. or floating down in a canoe. What are the rules on alcohol in those situations...

    Is the South Carolina drinking in public law posted on the internet? I am curious about public lakes as well... people frequently drink on sailboats and motor boats in different lakes in the area... What are the actual laws there? Are they posted anywhere?

    There was someone before that posted about getting fined on "the rocks" on the river for drinking even though he was 21. Drinking in public in that situation is illegal ? but public waterways?

  2. #2

    Default Re: Drinking Alcohol While Tubing or Canoeing on a River

    Tubing is legally equivalent to swimming. So no "boating under the influence" there. A canoe on the other hand is a vessel - meaning that whoever has navigational control of the vessel while underway (anyone paddling and the vessel isn't tied or secured to a dock or fixed structure) COULD be charged with BUI. Passengers, even on motor boats, can be loaded - so long as they never touch the controls of the vessel (for canoes or kyaks this would include paddling) or take similar action that could deem them "captaining" the vessel.

    The drinking in public part will depend on the laws in the jurisdiction in question - even within the same state, they can vary from county to county and even lake to lake or river to river. And even if your city or county ordinances say one thing, if you are in a state park or federal park or wildlife management area, the rules can still change.

    Your best bet is to know exactly where you plan on floating and drinking, and contact the Department of Natural Resources to get specifics for that area http://www.dnr.sc.gov/ - they are the agency tasked with investigating any boating related accidents or injuries and they'll have all relevent laws across the state.
    Catherine NeSmith
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