Is It Illegal to Drink While Floating on Montana Rivers?
I almost feel silly asking this question.
We were talking the other day about where Missoulians hang out and I said—we hang out in a tube on the river with a beer in one hand.
It’s commonplace, and dare I say, a rite of passage—being old enough to drink and float the Clark Fork. And then I wondered, is that even legal?
It must be because so many people do it. There would have to be more intervention if it wasn’t. And yet.
You don’t see every person pulled over for speeding, so what’s the deal with drinking while floating on Montana rivers?
Turns out, there is some…guidance.
Here's What the Montana Fish Wildlife, & Parks Say
I almost had to laugh when I came across this link. Drinking on the river is so common they had to make a brochure about it!
The brochure is called "Ethics and Etiquette for River Recreationists" and it does contain some solid advice that falls along the lines of "don't be obnoxious" when you're recreating on the river. But here's what it says specifically about drinking:
Boating under the influence of alcohol or drugs is dangerous—be responsible when drinking alcohol on and around the river.
So yes, not illegal, but still an activity that requires good judgment.
Some reminders though:
- It is illegal to drink while driving
- You can get a BUI (boating under the influence)
- There are regulations about public drinking/drunkenness when inside city limits
Keep in mind, too, that you can't have glass on the river, and if you do, you can get fined. Remember, cans can be recycled.