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Denver Criminal Defense Lawyer Weighs in On the Rules of Boating


August 1, 2018

Colorado may be a land-locked state, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of boating opportunities along the Front Range. With areas such as Chatfield Reservoir and Cherry Creek Reservoir, Coloradans can boat several months out of the year. But with boating and fun often comes the consumption of alcohol, and Denver criminal defense lawyer John L. Buckley would like to remind residents that boating under the influence is dangerous—and it’s against the law.
You can read the specifics on boating under the influence and the laws that surround boating at the Colorado Parks and Wildlife website.

Use Proper Etiquette When on the Water

Colorado’s boating community includes wakeboarders, water skiers, anglers, personal watercraft users, and many other motorized boating participants. Other popular water sports include kayaking and paddle boarding. With all that activity, the water can get a bit crowded sometimes. Many people are new to some of these sports, so they might not always be aware of the rules that should be followed to keep everyone safe.
One of the most important things to remember is to keep a proper distance between yourself and any other watercraft. There should always be a 150-foot distance between boats and anyone fishing on shore. This also pertains to nonmotorized vehicles such as kayaks and paddleboards.
If you are in a fishing boat, keep in mind that anchoring in a spot where there are a number of paddleboarders might not be the best idea. You should know the designated travel routes for skiers and wakeboarders so you do not anchor in their path. It just makes sense to be courteous of others.
Keep in mind that the minimum age to operate a motorized boat in Colorado is 16, although there is an exception to this: 14-year-olds may operate a boat if they have completed a boating safety certificate class. The speed limit in the water is no more than 40 miles per hour.

Don’t Consume Alcohol When Operating a Vehicle on the Water

If you are ticketed for boating under the influence, you will lose the right to operate the vessel for three months. If you are caught a second time, then you’ll be forced to suffer a ban for a full year.
It’s important to note that the word “vessel” does not just refer to motorized boats. Jet skiers, canoers, and so forth are also subject to operating under the influence fines. Keep in mind too that even if you are idling on the water without actually moving—even if the engine is off—this is still considered “operating” under the law.

If you have been cited for a boating violation such as boating under the influence, be sure to hire an experienced attorney. At the Law Office of John L. Buckley, we will fight on your behalf to ensure the best possible outcome. We understand this can happen, and we do not believe that a single mistake should ruin anyone’s future. Regardless of the charges you are facing, we can help you prepare the best defense. Everyone deserves fair and reliable representation from an expert such as those at the Law Office of John L. Buckley, PC. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.