Saturday, June 13, 2009

The Legal Requirements of Boating

Reckless Operation of a vessel is operating a boat carelessly in willful disregard of the rights, safety, or property of others. Here are some examples of reckless operations:

Boating in restricted areas without regard for other boaters or persons, posted speeds and wake restrictions, diver-down flags, etc.
Jumping the wake of another vessel unnecessarily close to that vessel or buzzing other vessels
Unsafe Operation of a vessel is operating in a manner that endangers or is likely to endanger others or their property. An example of unsafe operation is causing danger or damage from the wake of your vessel.

Failure To Regulate Speed is operating at speeds greater than that which allows the operator to bring the vessel to a stop within an assured clear distance ahead. It is illegal to exceed any posted speed limitations.

Improper Distance is not maintaining a proper distance while operating a vessel or while towing a person on water skis or any similar device. Specifically, it is illegal to operate a vessel at speeds greater than "idle speed" or slow, no wake speed, within 200 feet of:
A boat launch ramp
A marina
A mooring area

Overloading is loading the vessel beyond the recommended capacity shown on the capacity plate installed by the vessel manufacturer.

Riding on the Bow, Deck, or Gunwale is allowing passengers to ride or sit on the bow, gunwale, transom, seat backs, seats on raised decks, or any other place where there may be a chance of falling overboard while operating at a speed greater than 5 mph unless the vessel has adequate guards or railing. It is illegal to allow any person(s) to ride on any portion of the boat aft of the transom (including a step, ladder, platform, or deck) while underway.

Failure To Maintain a Proper Lookout is operating a vessel while failing to keep a constant lookout for other vessels and persons in the water.

Especially Hazardous Condition is operating a vessel in a condition that causes a hazard to the occupants or others on the waterways. Peace officers may instruct the operator to move the vessel to the nearest safe moorage if:

There are improper or insufficient personal flotation devices, fire extinguishers, backfire flame arrestors, or navigation lights between sunset and sunrise.
The vessel is overloaded or overpowered.
The vessel is leaking fuel.