Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: New Mexico, USA (Heron, Elephant Butte lakes); Arizona (Lake Pleasant)
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Re: When do coast guard regulations not apply?
As a matter of safety, in some very special cases, the Coast Guard or other authorities will give certain special rights to permitted marine events such as regattas. For example, it would have been dangerous to have had slow-moving boats randomly blundering into the path of the high-speed AC 72 catamarans in San Francisco Bay during the America's Cup, so their courses were protected while still allowing for the flow of commercial traffic. These exclusion zones can have the force of law.
More commonly, authorities expect people to use some common sense and take a dim view of individuals interfering with other traffic on the water. In some jurisdictions there are rules governing how close someone can get to someone taking part in a different water activity. In the inland waters of my state, for example, it would be illegal for say, a jet skier, to come within fifty yards of anglers or sailors on open water. Additionally, boat operators do have responsibility for damages caused by wakes or other reckless operation.