The concept of international waters can seem strange for those unaccustomed to maritime law. For some, the thought of international waters goes back to a time before long-distance communication, when it was almost impossible to enforce laws unless in sight of a shoreline. For these individuals, international water seems like a space with no effective governing body, in which there are essentially no laws. However, that is a gross exaggeration of how the high seas actually work. There are clearly stated laws in the open waters, and they certainly are enforced, including laws concerning drinking and boating.
BUI and BWI laws do still apply to those boating on the ocean, as sailors are not exempt from their national laws necessarily just because they are not in the waters of their given country. One of the most standard ways to sort out crime in open waters is to apply the law of whatever country that boat is registered to. For example, even though an American boat is sailing in the Indian Ocean, American law will continue to apply, as that vessel carries an American registration.
Another clear way to distinguish how BUI or BWI is treated is to use the set of laws associated with the boat’s flag. If an American boat flies an American flag, the captain and crew are expected to follow American law. This can be a simple way for the Coast Guard or other enforcement and protection agencies to determine how to deal with lawbreakers in open waters.
Additionally, there are laws on the high seas that are globally agreed upon. International waters host international legal agreements, which, primarily, outlaw major crimes that can cause damage to others. While no form of fishing license exists in international waters, drunken operation of a motor vehicle is still illegal, as it could easily cause harm to another person. For more information, contact a DUI defense attorney.