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Ask a Conservation Officer: Is it legal to drink beer in a motorboat?

Q: Am I allowed to drink a beer when out in a motorboat, or is that an "open-container" violation?

A: Minnesota's DUI laws apply to all motor vehicles, in that it is unlawful for an operator or person in control to have a blood-alcohol concentration of (BAC) 0.08 or above. However, the "open-bottle" law does not apply in motorboats. The operator of the boat or the passengers are allowed to have an open beer or alcoholic beverage as long as the operator stays below the legal BAC.

This weekend is the Operation Dry Water campaign, a nationwide program designed to facilitate boating under the influence detection and enforcement aimed at reducing the number of alcohol and drug-related accidents and fatalities on the water.

Use of alcohol while boating impairs judgement, balance, vision, reaction time and is the leading contributing factor in recreational boating deaths.

Enjoy your time boating, and save the drinks for later.

Send your questions to outdoors@duluthnews.com.

Matthew S. Miller is a Minnesota Conservation Officer with the Lake Superior Marine Unit.

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