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Old 11-02-2012, 07:02 PM   #41
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Will the first skipper to test these rules please post the resulting litigation results and the cost to defend themselves.
I can't seem to find any case law where a pleasure boater, operating in an uncontrolled area of the ocean has ever actually been sued for wake damage, absent of other extenuating circumstances.

Operating your boat, within its operating limits is not in and of itself neglegent. Other actions could be neglegent, an d we can all think of them, but hitting the throttle after you leave a no wake zone isn't one of them.

Even though I generally go slow I reserve the right to operate my vessle within its operating limits in uncontroled waters. There are probably 20 50' charter fishing boats that do just that every day of the season at my home port. None of them seem to get sued.

As for people that get waked, sorry, but be a better captain. Keep your gear stowed. Pay attention. Oh gosh, maybe a wave will come up and rock the boat. If the boat cannot take another boats wake, then possibly its not seaworthy enough to be out in the ocean. Thats what harbors, bays, lakes and rivers are for. If someone wants to sue, then let them go for it. My insurance company will defend my prudent, seamanship like actions per my contract with them.
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Old 11-02-2012, 07:32 PM   #42
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I can't seem to find any case law where a pleasure boater, operating in an uncontrolled area of the ocean has ever actually been sued for wake damage, absent of other extenuating circumstances.

Operating your boat, within its operating limits is not in and of itself neglegent. Other actions could be neglegent, an d we can all think of them, but hitting the throttle after you leave a no wake zone isn't one of them.

Even though I generally go slow I reserve the right to operate my vessle within its operating limits in uncontroled waters. There are probably 20 50' charter fishing boats that do just that every day of the season at my home port. None of them seem to get sued.

As for people that get waked, sorry, but be a better captain. Keep your gear stowed. Pay attention. Oh gosh, maybe a wave will come up and rock the boat. If the boat cannot take another boats wake, then possibly its not seaworthy enough to be out in the ocean. Thats what harbors, bays, lakes and rivers are for. If someone wants to sue, then let them go for it. My insurance company will defend my prudent, seamanship like actions per my contract with them.
I've never seen a claim regarding wake damage- and I don't ever think I will. Otherwise, the many commercial ships plying the waters of Puget Sound, SE AK, the Chesapeake, Galveston and San Francisco Bays, etc., would surely be mired deep in litigation.

The boater is required to be prudent. Being prudent has a different definition for each skipper, and none are cast in concrete. I know I've waked a few smaller boats in my years of boating, and I've been waked. Never been sued, never have sued anyone, and never got into altercations regarding same. It's a boat on the water, people- it's going to rock and be subject to wave/wake action.
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Old 11-02-2012, 07:35 PM   #43
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Operating your boat, within its operating limits is not in and of itself neglegent. Other actions could be neglegent, an d we can all think of them, but hitting the throttle after you leave a no wake zone isn't one of them.
If that's the case, trust you keep a reasonable distance away like the professionals operating 33-knot ferry boats here.

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Old 11-02-2012, 07:46 PM   #44
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You are responsible for any accident or injury caused by your wake regardless of wake or no wake zone.
I agree, especially on the wake/no wake zone aspect. You don`t have to commit an offense to attract civil liability. But each case turns on its facts.

At best, ksanders examples sound like contributory negligence rather than exculpation. It`s like colliding with a car you can easily see and avoid parked in a no parking zone,and claiming the parked car is 100% at fault. You know it`s there, you have to deal with it safely. BruceK
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Old 11-02-2012, 08:12 PM   #45
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I agree, especially on the wake/no wake zone aspect. You don`t have to commit an offense to attract civil liability. But each case turns on its facts.

At best, ksanders examples sound like contributory negligence rather than exculpation. It`s like colliding with a car you can easily see and avoid parked in a no parking zone,and claiming the parked car is 100% at fault. You know it`s there, you have to deal with it safely. BruceK
Relating ANYTHING boating to anything motor vehicle to me is totally irrelavent...thankfully maritime couts and hearings generally know the extreme difference and civil courts often follow their lead.
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Old 11-02-2012, 08:30 PM   #46
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If that's the case, trust you keep a reasonable distance away like the professionals operating 33-knot ferry boats here.
Of course. Keeping a reasonable distance is responsible seamanship.

I don't slow down but I do alter my course and try to avoid people fishing by a mile or so. If I'm going slow I have been known to come pretty close to see if they are catching anything.
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Old 11-02-2012, 09:13 PM   #47
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Greetings,
Ms. Bess. Not meaning to sound too critical here but don't you have a provision for securing furniture and other items in a seaway to prevent "scrambling"? Since experiencing a "blender" moment many years ago where our vessel appeared to be gyrating through 45 degrees in a severe beam sea, for what seemed like hours, whenever leaving port, we make sure any and all projectiles are firmly secured. That being said, any unanticipated rolling, from wakes etc. is usually precluded and acknowledged by "Hang on tight".

Yes, of course, but we don't always remember to tie down the furniture for a day cruise. We do when we expect weather or beam seas for sure. But some of these big wakes when you are out for a short 2 hour cruise can change your day for sure. Kind of like the Fridge stays closed, but when you open it shit flies out at you. Doesn't ruin your day, but it sure makes you experience that moment!
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Old 11-02-2012, 09:15 PM   #48
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Relating ANYTHING boating to anything motor vehicle to me is totally irrelavent...thankfully maritime couts and hearings generally know the extreme difference and civil courts often follow their lead.
psneeld, it`s better to think about issues than put downs.
Does this help? Replace the parked car with a fishing dinghy visible and anchored where it should not be. Is it ok for a cruiser to pass fast enough and close enough so its wake throws the fishermen into the water? No, there is a duty of care to the dinghy occupants, whether or not also at fault.
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Old 11-02-2012, 09:41 PM   #49
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psneeld, it`s better to think about issues than put downs.
Does this help? Replace the parked car with a fishing dinghy visible and anchored where it should not be. Is it ok for a cruiser to pass fast enough and close enough so its wake throws the fishermen into the water? No, there is a duty of care to the dinghy occupants, whether or not also at fault.

OK, well if we're going to use parallels.

Lets say that someone comes onto a freeway and about a mile past the onramp they decide to stop, get out and stretch their legs. (just like the idiot standing while fishing just outside the no wake zone)

Should the semi that drives by be held neglegent if the wind he causes knocks the person down?


I'll go with Petes answer. Hes in the marine insurance business. If he hasn't seen a claim in all his years in the business then they must be far and few between.

That nullifies the whole "you'll get sued" argument.

No criminal citations, no lawsuits, no issue except that we've all gotten suprised by a wake or two. The difference is that some of us want to blame others for our inattention, insted of learning a lesson to keep a sharp lookout from it.
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Old 11-02-2012, 10:07 PM   #50
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psneeld, it`s better to think about issues than put downs.
Does this help? Replace the parked car with a fishing dinghy visible and anchored where it should not be. Is it ok for a cruiser to pass fast enough and close enough so its wake throws the fishermen into the water? No, there is a duty of care to the dinghy occupants, whether or not also at fault.
Not unusual to pass close to a small, anchored, open-top boat due to narrow channels, etcetera, so make an effort to slow from cruising speed of 6.3 knots to 4.5 knots to reduce wake when passing.



Same for docked boats.

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Old 11-03-2012, 01:29 AM   #51
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Someone explain. How come small boats create much greater wakes than ships? This ship created virtually no wake:



Versus this boat which rolled me due to my day dreaming (but only the first time that day):

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Old 11-03-2012, 02:35 AM   #52
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My motto... being a good seaman means you are responsible for EXPECTING a wake at any time and being prepared. While they may be uncomfortable...they should not be damaging or dangerous....or you need to buy a different boat...
That pretty much sums it up in my opinion. While the legalities can be debated ad infinitum they won't change the actual situations you encounter. One of the requirements of the Colregs is that each vessel keep a proper lookout. To me, that means looking over your shoulder regularly to see what's coming up from behind. Or using the radar to show you overtaking traffic that you can then turn around and look at, visibility permitting.

While never say never I cannot recall any time when we have been surprised by a wake. We've had to deal with our share of big ones, particularly from the big semi-planing boats mushing through the water at 15 or 20 knots. But we regularly check behind us, we have the radar going all the time and actually look at it fairly frequently to see what's what out there. So while we've been seriously pissed off on occasion by the inconsiderate bozo who insists on passing us at speed a few boat lengths away, we've always seen them coming and been ready to deal with the wake.

And like RTF's earlier post, we assume we'll get waked at some point so we plan accordingly with things like coffee cups, plates, binoculars, cameras, etc.

I think a major part of being good at boating (or flying or driving or......) is having the ability to anticipate the consequences of something happening. "If I put that there and we get nailed by a wake, it's going to hit the floor or spill all over my camera." So you put it somewhere where that won't happen.

I continue to be surprised by how many people don't seem to have that anticipatory ability.
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Old 11-03-2012, 02:56 AM   #53
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Not unusual to pass close to a small, anchored, open-top boat due to narrow channels, etcetera, so make an effort to slow from cruising speed of 6.3 knots to 4.5 knots to reduce wake when passing.
Same for docked boats.
As do I. For rowers and kayakers too. Largely out of courtesy.I can easily reduce the effect I can readily foresee my wake may have on others.
So we have 1)duty of care and 2) foreseeable risk of harm. Add 3) breach of duty of care, and 4)damage. The basis of negligence claim.
My posts were an entirely well intended attempt to help. People can (some obviously do) reject it, preferring their own opinion or an insurance broker`s.
I`m comfortable having offered my view, receive it how you wish. BruceK
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Old 11-03-2012, 07:26 AM   #54
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(CNN) -- A tour boat carrying a group of senior citizens capsized and sank
Bad example, that boat sank because it was overloaded by about 3 times its limit. The wake that triggered the event was no more the cause than was daylight or the coffee the passengers had when they were younger.
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Old 11-03-2012, 07:39 AM   #55
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For what its worth, here in Queensland, the law is to not go past another vessel on the plane/making wake any closer than 30 metres. Belive it or not, that bit of extra distance does matter, and if observed the wake effect is minimised and bearable even if caught beam on. Not so good if they pass closer. So Ksanders, just give another vessel you pass that amount of distance and you can power on to your hearts content.
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Old 11-03-2012, 08:00 AM   #56
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For what its worth, here in Queensland, the law is to not go past another vessel on the plane/making wake any closer than 30 metres. Belive it or not, that bit of extra distance does matter, and if observed the wake effect is minimised and bearable even if caught beam on. Not so good if they pass closer. So Ksanders, just give another vessel you pass that amount of distance and you can power on to your hearts content.

I would never dream of passing another boat at less than 30M while up on plane. I actually stay much farther than that from other boats, because of the huge wake my boat throws at semi planing speeds.

For me, this is really a theoretical discussion. While I reserve the right to go faster, I don't actually operate my boat that way. I run the boat at between 7 and 9 knots almost all the time.
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Old 11-03-2012, 08:46 AM   #57
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psneeld, it`s better to think about issues than put downs.
Does this help? Replace the parked car with a fishing dinghy visible and anchored where it should not be. Is it ok for a cruiser to pass fast enough and close enough so its wake throws the fishermen into the water? No, there is a duty of care to the dinghy occupants, whether or not also at fault.
My real point is maritime law is quite different than most laws and while civil liability law isn't...often it's tied back to the "criminal" investigation for facts, statements, etc...etc and rarely do I hear of most ambulance chasers willing to take on maritime law when there are so many juicy vehicular cases to grab...

But also...DRIVING A BOAT ISN'T EVEN REMOTELY LIKE OPERATING A CAR ON A ROAD.... I'm amazed anyone with experience would even think so.
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Old 11-03-2012, 09:45 AM   #58
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I can't seem to find any case law where a pleasure boater, operating in an uncontrolled area of the ocean has ever actually been sued for wake damage, absent of other extenuating circumstances..
You are an attorney?

It's probably important to note that probably less than 1% of pleasure boating is done in uncontrolled areas of the ocean. I don't think the point you are attempting to make is relevant to the discussion.
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Old 11-03-2012, 09:46 AM   #59
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psneeld, it`s better to think about issues than put downs..
He can't help it. That's his style.
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Old 11-03-2012, 09:49 AM   #60
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... being a good seaman means you are responsible for EXPECTING a wake at any time and being prepared. While they may be uncomfortable...they should not be damaging or dangerous....or you need to buy a different boat...
With that philosophy, we should all be running aircraft carriers.
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