From STATE OF MARYLAND State-Specific Boating Safety Requirements
SL 12. Reckless and Careless Operation
Negligence or gross negligence in operation of a vessel resulting in the endangerment of lives
and/or property is prohibited. A civil penalty may be imposed by the USCG for this offense.
Violators may be subject to a fine of up to $5,000 and or imprisonment for up to one year, or
both. In the State of Maryland, the penalty is a fine of up to $500 for the first offense.
Examples of actions that may constitute negligent or grossly negligent operation include, but
are not limited to:
1. Operating in an area designated for swimming only.
2. Operating under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
3. Operating the vessel at excessive speed near other boats or in dangerous waters.
4. Dangerous water skiing practices.
5. Bowriding or riding on seatbacks, the gunwale or transom.
I think this law was passed in the 70's after a boating accident.