Boating While Intoxicated

The information on this website is for informational purposes only. You should consult with a NH DWI lawyer to discuss the specific penalties applicable in your case.

Penalties for Boating While Intoxicated (BWI) in NH

The penalties for Boating While Intoxicated (BWI) are just as severe as Driving While Intoxicated (DWI).

In New Hampshire, Boating While Intoxicated is a misdemeanor, i.e., a criminal offense. Most BWI cases are prosecuted by the NH Marine Patrol, which is part of the NH Department of Safety. Many Marine Patrol officers are seasonal employees and are not full-time law-enforcement officers, which means they are likely untrained in administering standard field sobriety tests or breath test devices.

A conviction for BWI will be recorded on your driving record and will result in a loss of driving privileges in addition to your license to operate a boat for one year. And, if you were transporting a child or any person under the age of 16 at the time you were charged with BWI, you will have to successfully complete a 7-day residential treatment program as part of a BWI sentence.

Boating While Intoxicated (BWI) - 1st Offense (age 21 or older)

Class B Misdemeanor*

*May be reduced to a violation-level offense after one year.

Jail Sentence



Minimum: $500.00

Maximum: $500.00

Added to all fines is a 24% penalty assessment. Most courts expect payment of the fine and penalty assessment in full on the day of trial or when the sentence is imposed.

Court-ordered loss of license and boating privileges

Minimum: 9 months (can be reduced to 90 days)

Maximum: 2 years

Possibility of reinstatement 6 months early if the relevant treatment program is completed within all the mandatory time frames.

Mandatory: shall not operate a boat in NH waters for 1 year from the conviction date, regardless of whether the conviction is appealed.

Administrative License Suspension (ALS) by the NH DMV

Minimum: 6 months, effective 30 days from date of arrest.

In the case of a refusal, the administrative loss of license will be consecutive (i.e., in addition to) to any court-ordered loss of license.

Required Treatment


IDCMP Substance Abuse Screening to be completed within 14 days of sentencing. ($75)

  • Negative screening → 20 hour impaired driver education program (IDEP) ($300) or an accelerated weekend program (WIDEP). ($485)
  • Positive screening → substance use disorder evaluation to be completed within 30 days of sentencing.

Substance Use Disorder Evaluation ($200)

  • Negative evaluation → IDEP or WIDEP.
  • Positive evaluation → compliance with the service plan provided from the substance use evaluation, in addition to IDEP or WIDEP.

Any additional treatment or counseling ordered by the court, including random urine and drug tests.

Ignition Interlock Requirement

None required. However, a judge may order an ignition interlock device for 1-2 years in some circumstances.

Insurance requirements

SR-22 form required prior to reinstatement.

Other Penalties

6 demerit points

This is a major motor vehicle offense which counts toward certification as an habitual offender.

We Can Help

Boating While Intoxicated (BWI) charges in New Hampshire are a serious matter. Whether it was Lake Winnipesaukee or Rye Harbor, the Piscataqua or Lake Winnisquam, we can help.

Call our experienced NH DWI defense lawyers at (603) 775-7570.


Your Best Defense Starts Here

For aggressive representation and practical legal advice, contact the experienced New Hampshire attorneys at Samdperil & Welsh, PLLC today.
Exeter, NH
(603) 775-7570
Portsmouth, NH
(603) 436-4901