Busy Doing Nothing

Published August 31, 2012

A Juneau man who was drinking all day as he floated his way down the Chena River in Alaska on an inflatable raft has been arrested for operating a watercraft under the influence of alcohol.

Alaska state troopers said the man’s blood alcohol level was 0.313, about four times the legal limit. They charged him with DUI.

Lawyer-blogger Kevin Underhill thinks the man can beat the rap. Under Alaska law, the term “operate a watercraft” means “to navigate a vessel used or capable of being used as a means of transportation on water. …”

“[F]loating on a raft is not ‘navigating,'” Underhill says. “It is not doing anything, unless you think ‘not sinking’ is doing something, which I don’t. … So lawyer up, Mr. Floater, because you’re going to walk. Assuming you are able to walk by then.”

Sources: Sam Friedman, “Juneau man gets DUI on raft in Chena River,” Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, August 1, 2012; Kevin Underhill, “Alaska Man Charged With Floating Under the Influence,” lowering the bar, August 2, 2012