Passenger seating regulations - SailNet Community

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  #1  
Old 07-24-2011
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Question Passenger seating regulations

I've read that it is illegal for passengers to sit on the bow of small boats,
but I've been unable to find any regulations pertaining to allowed passenger
seating locations. Can anyone provide a pointer to the relevant regs? I'm
specifically interested in regs that apply to ~35' sailboats in New England
waters. Thanks.
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Old 07-24-2011
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Never heard of such a thing.

Mmmmmm...how do you define "the bow"...anything forward of midpoint of the deck?

It's the best place on the boat to sit if it's not taking green water...
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Old 07-24-2011
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I suspect the issue is primarily passengers sitting on the bow of powerboats with their legs dangling. I've found some safety documents that say that it is unsafe for passengers to sit on the bow or the gunwales and I've read accounts of boats being stopped by LEOs for passengers on the bow. I suspect things may be different if you have lifelines, hence the interest in finding the specific regs.
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Old 07-24-2011
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This one is from MD, quoting from page 7 (emphasis mine):

"Reckless and Negligent Operation
Law prohibits negligent or grossly negligent operation of a vessel that endangers lives and/
or property. The U.S. Coast Guard for this offense may impose a civil penalty under federal
laws. The operator may be subjected to a fine of up to $5,000 and/or imprisonment for up to
one year, or both. The Maryland penalty is a fine of up to $500 for the first offense.
Some examples of actions that may constitute negligent or grossly negligent operation
include but are not limited to:
1. Operating in a swimming area.
2. Operating under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
3. Excessive speed in the vicinity of other boats or in dangerous waters.
4. Hazardous water skiing practices or Personal Watercraft operations (i.e., Jet Ski’s, etc.).
5. Bow riding or riding on seatback, gunwale, or transom."


http://www.dnr.state.md.us/boating/p...ionvessels.pdf
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Old 07-24-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Selkie60 View Post
I suspect the issue is primarily passengers sitting on the bow of powerboats with their legs dangling. I've found some safety documents that say that it is unsafe for passengers to sit on the bow or the gunwales and I've read accounts of boats being stopped by LEOs for passengers on the bow. I suspect things may be different if you have lifelines, hence the interest in finding the specific regs.
I believe you are exactly right; that's where the regs started, but at least as far as I was able to find regs I could quote here in MD, it doesn't specifically exclude "powerboat" or "without lifelines." If DRFerron is sees this, I think she's Coast Guard and maybe could help?
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Old 07-24-2011
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Bow Riding

The boat must have a seat factory-built into the bow. It's mostly for power boats.

As for bow riding in power boats, I ask people if they'd let their kids ride on the hood of their car while traveling down the expressway. And I have seen many LEOs stop boats for this.

Those on the upper Chesapeake may remember a young girl a few years ago bow riding near the Sassafras. Not a happy ending.

I was on CG patrol near Havre de Grace when a sailboat went by with an adult and infant sitting on the bow. We approached to let them know that the kid needed to wear a life jacket. The woman saw us coming and promptly dropped the kid down the open forward hatch. You'd think she was disposing of some kind of contraband it was so quick.
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Old 07-24-2011
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Selkie-
While you may find specific examples in various state and local codes, the problem is that people who are unsecured near the edges of boats tend to fall off them and then get hit or chewed up by the props, so the watercops & USCG use their own discretion to determine "reckless operation" or "endangerment" and they'll bark about it.

We had one batch of gung-ho's bitching on the radio about bow-riding, when the "bowrider" was in fact the foredeck crew (with PFD and holding onto the forestay) hanging back to check out the sail shape aloft pre-race. A normal and necessary part of operations, not joyriding at all.

Or as the ballsiest bumper sticker I've ever seen says "BAD COP! NO DONUT!"
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Old 07-24-2011
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Unfortunately, sailboats sometimes get shoehorned into rules that were written with small motorboats primarily in mind. Usually the water cops use good judgment, but sometimes you run across one who is not fully enlightened.

On a Sunfish, I'd tend to defy you to find someplace to ride that isn't on the bow, transom, or gunwales!

Last edited by rgscpat; 07-24-2011 at 03:59 PM. Reason: more words
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Old 07-24-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rgscpat View Post
Unfortunately, sailboats sometimes get shoehorned into rules that were written with small motorboats primarily in mind. Usually the water cops use good judgment, but sometimes you run across one who is not fully enlightened.
Usually power boats are stopped when they are traveling at a speed that would make it unsafe if someone fell overboard since chances of the boat running over the person in the water are high. Or, in congested areas, even at slow or no-wake speed you may be stopped because the chances of other boats not seeing the person in the water (should he or she fall overboard) is high. For the last example I'm thinking about events where there are many spectator boats coming and going.
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Old 07-25-2011
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Isn't the Bow, where we put the newbie for the Mail Buoy watch??
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