Under Lax State Law, Seafair Boater Busted Twice for BUI in Four Hours Could Be Out on Lake Washington Again Today

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Ah, Seafair. The sun shone, the Blue Angels and hydroplanes roared, and the beer flowed like wine yet again during the annual floating fiesta on Lake Washington. A splendid time was had by all, save for the 71 boaters busted by the Washington State Patrol and other law-enforcement agencies for BUI, or Boating Under the Influence. Yes, drinking like a sailor is only acceptable if you're not the captain of your vessel, a lesson 29-year-old Renton resident Joe Dalrymple and his pals learned the hard way yesterday--twice in the span of about four hours.

According to the Washington State Patrol, at around 1:30 p.m. Sunday, Dalrymple's 18-foot boat veered into the "No Go Zone" set up for the hydroplane races, roughly the equivalent of driving the wrong way on I-5. Dalrymple was arrested, even though he reportedly told the State Patrol that he "made arrangements to have a sober person with me so I could drink." He refused to take a breathalyzer.

The boat was turned over to an unidentified female, who was sober according to WSP spokesman Cliff Pratt. But, about four hours later at 5:40 p.m., Dalrymple's boat was stopped again, this time for a wake violation. Thomas Hutchison of Newcastle was manning the rudder. He too was drunk, according to the WSP, and also refused a breathalyzer.

When Dalyrmple's boat was impounded, things got a little heated. Pratt tells Seattle Weekly that the captain "was combative with the officers, right up to the point of assault."

"He was on the level of extremely intoxicated," Pratt says. "It was to the level of barely being able to stand."

Both Hutchinson and Dalrymple were booked into King County Jail for BUI, a gross misdemeanor. They now each face a maximum of 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Unlike a DUI, however, a BUI does not carry civil sanctions like a suspended license or requirements for an interlock ignition device. Also unlike a DUI, refusing a breathalyzer during a BUI stop is not grounds for an automatic conviction. And whereas a DUI conviction will result in five years' probation, a BUI conviction requires a maximum of two years probation.

That's not all. According to Pratt, if Dalrymple bailed himself out of jail and picked up his boat, he could legally cruise Lake Washington this afternoon.

"It's a new realm as far as BUIs go," Pratt says. "In fact, we're trying to get the [state] legislature to recognize our guys out there are doing a heckuva job as far as safety, but as of right now you can't take somebody's boating privilege away if they break the law."

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