Originally Posted by Ulladh
Just wondering, how do you all define a dangerous wake?
I have frequently rode through wakes from both pleasure and commercial craft, sometimes 8ft crest to trough, on the beam, on the bow and in between. Not pleasant but I would not call it dangerous.
The wake is considered an extension of the boat. Whatever damage it does, regardless of the size of the wake, the boat attached to it (and therefore the boat's owner) may be held responsible:
From USCG Navigation Center
"10. What are the regulations concerning wake effects, wake damage, and responsibility? Regarding one's wake, vessels over 1600 Gross Tons are specifically required by Title 33 CFR 164.11 to set the vessel's speed with consideration for...the damage that might be caused by the vessel's wake. Further, there may be State or local laws which specifically address "wake" for the waters in question.
While vessels under 1600 GT are not specifically required to manage their speed in regards to wake, they are still required to operate in a prudent matter which does not endanger life, limb, or property (46 USC 2302).
Nor do the Navigation Rules exonerate any vessel from the consequences of neglect (Rule 2), which, among other things, could be unsafe speeds (Rule 6), improper lookout (Rule 5), or completely ignoring your responsibilities as prescribed by the Navigation Rules.
As to whether or not a particular vessel is responsible for the damage it creates is a question of law and fact that is best left to the Courts. For more information, contact your local Marine Patrol or State Boating Law Administrator."