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Old 06-14-2012, 09:17 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by psneeld View Post
While I agree that the wake issue is gray in its specifics...many states have specific wording that includes some thing like "you are always responsible" and that would apply to all waters within the state waters.

If you rock a small boat (but big enough for the water it is operating in)severely enough to swamp it and someone is hurt...I'm pretty sure a wake claim may result and even the authorities would get involved.

However the "always responsible" is/can be offset be the other skipper not being a "responsible seaman"...so that is where the gray area arises in my experience.

Thats exactly what I thought. Probably because that exact saying is highly promoted by the likes of BoatUS and other groups.

Then I started looking up state laws, and even challenged others (on another forum) to do the same.

We were unable to find any coastal states with anything close to that verbage in their laws. We even found states that have exclusions for people operating their boats as they are intended.

I would try it, look up a few state laws. You'll probably be suprised.
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Old 06-14-2012, 09:23 AM   #22
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Here in Oz, things appear to be simpler. it is generally 4 knots in marinas/harbours etc, 6kn when passing moored boats, within 30 metres of anchored vessels, and in certain rivers to lessen erosion of banks, and then out in the open waters the max is 50kn, except when in ecologically sensitive areas like dugong (manatee) and turtle feeding areas etc, where the 6kn rule again applies. Of course the50kn really seldom possible, but high performance planing boats and jet skis etc capable of those speeds skim along on the surface so don't make much of a wake at speed, unlike those dratted semi-planers....
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Old 06-14-2012, 09:30 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by ksanders View Post
Thats exactly what I thought. Probably because that exact saying is highly promoted by the likes of BoatUS and other groups.

Then I started looking up state laws, and even challenged others (on another forum) to do the same.

We were unable to find any coastal states with anything close to that verbage in their laws. We even found states that have exclusions for people operating their boats as they are intended.

I would try it, look up a few state laws. You'll probably be suprised.
NJ State Police Boating handbook...

SPEED
1. No person shall operate a power vessel or allow a power
vessel to be operated where the speed may cause danger
of injury to life or limb or damage to property. The speed
of every power vessel shall be regulated to avoid risk of
damage, or injury by any means, from the power vessel’s
wake.
2. All power vessels shall reduce their speed to slow speed
when passing:
a. Any marina, pier, dock or wharf at a distance of 200
feet or less.
b. Work barges or fl oats while actually engaged in construction.
c. Through bridge openings of 400 feet or less.
d. Through lagoons, canals or confi ned areas of less than
200 feet in width.
e. Vessels not under command.
f. Emergency vessels displaying fl ashing or rotating
lights.
29
3. “Slow Speed” is defi ned as speed at which a power vessel
moves through the water and is able to maintain minimum
headway in relation to vessel or structure being passed.
4. All power vessels in a marked “Slow Speed/No Wake” area
shall move only at a no wake speed and not on plane. “No
Wake Speed” shall mean speed at which a power vessel
moves through the water maintaining minimum headway
and producing minimum wake possible.
5. The operator of any vessel is responsible for any damage
caused from the wake of the vessel.

the last one might as well say "always"...it leaves it out but the legality of it is that no specific means always in the eyes of the law...
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Old 06-14-2012, 09:37 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psneeld View Post
NJ State Police Boating handbook...

SPEED
1. No person shall operate a power vessel or allow a power
vessel to be operated where the speed may cause danger
of injury to life or limb or damage to property. The speed
of every power vessel shall be regulated to avoid risk of
damage, or injury by any means, from the power vessel’s
wake.
2. All power vessels shall reduce their speed to slow speed
when passing:
a. Any marina, pier, dock or wharf at a distance of 200
feet or less.
b. Work barges or fl oats while actually engaged in construction.
c. Through bridge openings of 400 feet or less.
d. Through lagoons, canals or confi ned areas of less than
200 feet in width.
e. Vessels not under command.
f. Emergency vessels displaying fl ashing or rotating
lights.
29
3. “Slow Speed” is defi ned as speed at which a power vessel
moves through the water and is able to maintain minimum
headway in relation to vessel or structure being passed.
4. All power vessels in a marked “Slow Speed/No Wake” area
shall move only at a no wake speed and not on plane. “No
Wake Speed” shall mean speed at which a power vessel
moves through the water maintaining minimum headway
and producing minimum wake possible.
5. The operator of any vessel is responsible for any damage
caused from the wake of the vessel.

the last one might as well say "always"...it leaves it out but the legality of it is that no specific means always in the eyes of the law...
There you go. I/we didn't think of New Jersey. To be honest, I don't generally think of New Jersey as a coastal state. Probably from being so far removed in Alaska.
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Old 06-14-2012, 09:52 AM   #25
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This is right out of one of the NASBLA courses.

Courtesy

Everyone who uses or enjoys the waterways of our country, whether boating, walking along the shoreline or actually living on the water’s edge has the same rights to enjoy the tranquillity of the water. Boaters should respect the rights of others who live or play on the shoreline. You should not disturb private property owners by docking on their land. You should be careful about the amount of wake that you are leaving when operating close to shore. You are responsible for any damage you cause with your wake. Control your speed and obey speed limit signs.

Any state that requires boating operator's certification would be able to say that "responsible for your wake" is taught and therefore understood how it applies when the law says reckless or negligent operation.
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Old 06-14-2012, 09:54 AM   #26
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There you go. I/we didn't think of New Jersey. To be honest, I don't generally think of New Jersey as a coastal state. Probably from being so far removed in Alaska.
I think I can see more boats from my flybridge right now than I saw in all my trips to Alaska (and I have seen it by water from the Canadian boarder to past Attu Island) and the 2 years I lived on Kodiak....

As Marin would say...Uuuuugh!!!
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Old 06-14-2012, 10:21 AM   #27
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If a john boat whose skipper is fishing and is anchored on the edge of a marked narrow channel whose speed is not regulated and you swamp the john boat by your wake, are you responsible?

I see this often in the Florida ICW, except the swamp part.
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Old 06-14-2012, 10:21 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by psneeld View Post
This is right out of one of the NASBLA courses.

Courtesy

Everyone who uses or enjoys the waterways of our country, whether boating, walking along the shoreline or actually living on the water’s edge has the same rights to enjoy the tranquillity of the water. Boaters should respect the rights of others who live or play on the shoreline. You should not disturb private property owners by docking on their land. You should be careful about the amount of wake that you are leaving when operating close to shore. You are responsible for any damage you cause with your wake. Control your speed and obey speed limit signs.

Any state that requires boating operator's certification would be able to say that "responsible for your wake" is taught and therefore understood how it applies when the law says reckless or negligent operation.
I would respectfully submit that boating courses are not state or federal law.

so far the only coastal (no disrespect to the good people of New Jersey) state that seems to have such a stronlly worded law is New Jersey.

The problem of wake damage is more than just courtesy. Several people in this thread have brought up instances where people build on the waterfront but then have challenges when people operate their boats in a normal fashion in the vicinity of their waterfront property.

Some states solve this issue with zone speed and wake restrictions.

My challenge is that the statement that "everyone is responsible for all damage caused by their wake" is just not true in many if not most coastal jurisdictions.

For example if you build along a shoreline in such a way that normal operation of a vessel (commercial or recreational) would result in wake damage then the vessel is not responsible.

If you operate a vessle that could or would be damaged by another vessel during its normal operation, then the wake producing vessle should not, and generally are not responsible for damage.
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Old 06-14-2012, 10:32 AM   #29
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If a john boat whose skipper is fishing and is anchored on the edge of a marked narrow channel whose speed is not regulated and you swamp the john boat by your wake, are you responsible?

I see this often in the Florida ICW, except the swamp part.
I say "depends".....hopefully the LEO will say the same and you will have your day in court as to some unfightable civil violation with automatic fine....yeah go to court AND TRY AND WIN AGAINST SOME LOCAL....

If you are a smooth talker...you might be able to convince the LEO you were reasonable and the other party wasn't...but my guess is you will wind up in court and probably lose unless you have big bucks and one of the best maritime lawyers who boats and has full interest in your case.
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Old 06-14-2012, 10:44 AM   #30
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I would respectfully submit that boating courses are not state or federal law.

True but try and convince some non-maritime court that there's no difference. After 23 years of carefully following this issue in the USCG and another 12 on the water as a pro and another 12 as a boating safety course instructor...I had quite a bit of contact with ALL levels of LEOs and courts and guess what...law is a fluid thing at the level you are gonna be tried at....even the maritime hearing officers are leaning toward the idiot because of public perception. EVERY case I have heard about I have followed up on or researched to the best of my ability and have learned that most of them never go to court/hearing but are settled....similar to most legal issues...

so far the only coastal (no disrespect to the good people of New Jersey) state that seems to have such a stronlly worded law is New Jersey. Have you checked the statutes in every one?

The problem of wake damage is more than just courtesy. Several people in this thread have brought up instances where people build on the waterfront but then have challenges when people operate their boats in a normal fashion in the vicinity of their waterfront property. Smile and wave!!

Some states solve this issue with zone speed and wake restrictions. Yes and I posted it would be the next big war and if you read North Carolina's boating stuff..I'm glad to see application for a no wake zone has to have a public hearing and is scrutinized.

My challenge is that the statement that "everyone is responsible for all damage caused by their wake" is just not true in many if not most coastal jurisdictions. It is if you go to court and lose or the LEO disagree's with you.

For example if you build along a shoreline in such a way that normal operation of a vessel (commercial or recreational) would result in wake damage then the vessel is not responsible. No such thing as "normal operation" ...however "seaman like" and "prudent mariner" are more common and those are WAY GRAY!!!

If you operate a vessle that could or would be damaged by another vessel during its normal operation, then the wake producing vessle should not, and generally are not responsible for damage.
I agree...but I'm afraid along the Eastern Seaboard it is a give and take that makes little sense...and transient boaters/cruisers are generally losing the battle.

Hey I'm the first to say...don't want to get waked...don't boat on/near or keep your boat on America's water highway...but most people glare at me because they are not cruisers and have no place to go in no rush...or they are the ones way more guilty than me!!!
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Old 06-14-2012, 10:57 AM   #31
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..........I see this often in the Florida ICW, except the swamp part.
You will just have to get there a little sooner.
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Old 06-14-2012, 11:27 AM   #32
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A good friend of mine has a son that does king mackeral fishing tournaments. While moving his boat from Jacksonville, NC to Morehead City for a tournament, he was south of South Port in the narrow ICW. A couple of kids on jet skis came out to "play" in the wake. They were very annoying, and ignored being asked to stop. There was a video camera on board, and the operator had the presence of mind to ask someone to start recording the antics. While being video taped, one of the jet skis zipped past on the starboard side of the overtaken vessel. The turn was misjudged or operator error, and the jet ski hit the bow of the overtaken boat. The result was a fatality and a resulting law suit.

It was a very long process, but luckily the defendant was a good lawyer who was one of the top of his class at Duke University. The complainants claimed a crossing situation. Of course it was actually overtaking, and the video proved it. Had it not been for the video the case could have been lost. Also, negligent homicide could have been charged.

When this situation comes up, I just stop dead in the water until they go away. I do not want the expense and trouble of paying someone for their own stupidity.

By the way the boat operator lost his taste for boating.
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Old 06-14-2012, 11:33 AM   #33
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A good friend of mine has a son that does king mackeral fishing tournaments. While moving his boat from Jacksonville, NC to Morehead City for a tournament, he was south of South Port in the narrow ICW. A couple of kids on jet skis came out to "play" in the wake. They were very annoying, and ignored being asked to stop. There was a video camera on board, and the operator had the presence of mind to ask someone to start recording the antics. While being video taped, one of the jet skis zipped past on the starboard side of the overtaken vessel. The turn was misjudged or operator error, and the jet ski hit the bow of the overtaken boat. The result was a fatality and a resulting law suit.

It was a very long process, but luckily the defendant was a good lawyer who was one of the top of his class at Duke University. The complainants claimed a crossing situation. Of course it was actually overtaking, and the video proved it. Had it not been for the video the case could have been lost. Also, negligent homicide could have been charged.

When this situation comes up, I just stop dead in the water until they go away. I do not want the expense and trouble of paying someone for their own stupidity.

By the way the boat operator lost his taste for boating.
I truly feel sorry for the guys that got drug into the mud by a couple of knuckleheads. I have heard similar tales of jerk boaters without a clue being just as much of a problem.

Me...I wouldn't give up boating...I'd increase my skeetshooting practice..
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Old 06-14-2012, 11:40 AM   #34
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What annoys me are the "No Wake" signs put up by individuals who have no authority to do so. Some have coppied the official signs so you don't really know if yo are violating a real No Wake zone or just someone's make believe one. Compare this to a homeowner putting up speed limit signs in front of his/her house.

A typical trawler a seven knots does create a wake. Not like a sport fish at 30 MPH, but it's a big enough wake to be a violation.

As for posting actual speed limits in miles per hour, would that limit be "over water" or "over ground"? With out GPS systems, we can measure speed over ground, but I've never seen a boat speedometer that can measure 6 MPH over water.

Personally, I try to obey the laws and I try to be courtious, but once in a while, I'll miss a sign because I'm concentrationg on something else. A couple of times, I have found myself going too fast through a drawbridge so other boats can pass in the other direction or so the bridge can be lowered for auto traffic. I have to learn to forget about other folks and take my own sweet time.
At least North Carolina seems to be on top of it as they had it on several of their web sites (easy to find!)

Is it Legal? Is it Enforceable?
Enforcement of No Wake Zones is limited to those areas that have been established by federal and state rulemaking or legislation and that are properly marked. No Wake Zones must display regulatory signs or buoys that conform to the standards of the U.S. Aids to Navigation (ATONS). A No Wake marker that does not conform to US ATONS standards or that has been placed in public trust waters without authorization is subject to removal. An unmarked No Wake Zone is not enforceable.
The Wildlife Resources Commission does not purchase or maintain No Wake markers. However, our Engineering Services Division can provide technical assistance regarding marker purchase and placement.
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Old 06-14-2012, 03:52 PM   #35
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We got a $90 ticket in Ft. Lauderdale last June from waterway cops with attitude. We were trying to avoid making wake in our 12ft RIB but got waked by a passing faster vessel that threw water over the bow of our boat. We got the ticket!! I figure we were doing 4-5mph. At the time we were being written up, there were much faster vessels passing by, including the harbor taxi, that "were not making wake". It was a Friday afternoon, I guess they needed to make their weekly quota!
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Old 06-14-2012, 09:48 PM   #36
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In Sydney we have a number of speed zones,(especially one under the Harbour Bridge where a harbour catamaran ferry at 30 knots ran down an IG a few years ago killing 3 people), and "no wake" and "reduce wake" zones which oddly don`t seem to prevent water skiing.
It is really a matter of commonsense and courtesy to others. You cannot instill commonsense in the plainly stupid, like operators of fast cruisers passing close by,usually on the half plane,dragging the stern creating deep wake that requires you to turn in or away,for fear of damage or injury. If you pass a kayaker, a rowing shell, an open boat anchored fishing,be courteous and safe, slow down.You will be appreciated and maybe next time someone will extend you the same courtesy. BruceK
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Old 06-14-2012, 09:56 PM   #37
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In Sydney we have a number of speed zones,(especially one under the Harbour Bridge where a harbour catamaran ferry at 30 knots ran down an IG a few years ago killing 3 people),
We were there that night, in the hotel (Hilton?) under the Rocks end of the bridge. Lots of sirens and lights. I seem to recall reading over the next few days there was a question of whether the recreational boat was displaying the proper lights (or any lights). Never heard how it all came out, though.
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Old 06-14-2012, 10:25 PM   #38
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We were there that night, in the hotel (Hilton?) under the Rocks end of the bridge. Lots of sirens and lights. I seem to recall reading over the next few days there was a question of whether the recreational boat was displaying the proper lights (or any lights). Never heard how it all came out, though.
The civil cases are unresolved as far as I know;from memory the Inquest blamed both, the ferry for operating fast on the wrong side of the bay thus limiting vision as they exited Circular Quay at speed, and the IG for not having nav lights on.I heard the IG was otherwise well lit up,and there was prior radio chatter about it proceeding without nav lights from skippers of ferries etc who clearly SAW it. The ferry was returning to base after completing its shift for the day,(?relaxed vigilance/keen to go home, hard to know,) but were they keeping a proper lookout? I suspect the easier job would be acting for the IG than the ferry in a civil case and liability would be apportioned between them.
One result was a 15kt restriction under the bridge, plus a "no anchoring" restriction after yet another ferry ran down a small anchored runabout fishing under the bridge, whose occupant died of a heart attack just after the collision. I exercise due caution around our ferries which have right of way,some are well skippered,but some.....BruceK
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Old 06-14-2012, 10:40 PM   #39
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We live on a 7 mile long lake that winds out through a river into Lake Michigan. Boats over 26ft are required to be no wake on the lake. This results in the most inconsistent and stupid behavior.

While I am going 5 knots at no wake in a straight line minding my business, ski boats are going 20 mph kicking up 3 to 4 ft wakes for wake boards or pulling multiple tubers in circles without regard for the clockwise pattern on the lake, and house boats trying to plane throwing big rollers while a dozen grey hairs are half crocked drinking cocktails. Jet skis swarm like flies at speeds up to 60 mph.

I got pulled over by the sheriff today (weekday so no one else on the lake) and he said my wake was too big. I said "I was following you and your wake was bigger than mine." He said "yes, but your are over 26ft and therefore it is illegal for you!"

Go figure
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Old 06-15-2012, 01:42 AM   #40
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Larry, perhaps it would be worthwhile to talk to the judge. That law is idiocy, or at least incompatible with your boat. On that lake, you can only operate at idle-speed. Bad for your engine(s).
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