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I have seen that "bow riding" is considered to be negligent operation. I've also seen pictures on this site of people doing just that. My wife has been caught on film laying out on the foredeck of a sailboat underway, and I suspect that some of our friends would enjoy it too. I confess, I find myself sitting on the back of the seat of the cockpit sometimes.

My question is, what do they mean when they are talking about Bow Riding as it pertains to sailboats? Under what circumstances would you allow someone to go forward just to hang out? I want to make sure that if I allow it as a skipper that it is legal, or at least it is safe.

I live in Illinois and sail on Lake Michigan, if that makes a difference.

Roger
 

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I don't think I have ever heard of anyone getting a citation or even a warning for having people on the bow of a sailboat. The only times I have ever restricted movement of my crew or passengers to the bow to either work or hangout was when the conditions were very rough and would be dangerous for more than one person to go up on deck. I think the rule pertains to powerboats and the risk of passengers falling overboad and then being instantly run over by the 200+hp motor and spinning prop...I'm sure there will be someone who disagrees but in my own opinion I wouldn't even think twice about it and just enjoy yourself when your out on your boat and pay attention to the rules and laws that matter.
 

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I have seen that "bow riding" is considered to be negligent operation.
You have? Where?

I've also seen pictures on this site of people doing just that.
One of my favourite places to be is sitting up on the bow-pulpit.

My wife has been caught on film laying out on the foredeck of a sailboat underway, ...
If there are no pictures, it didn't happen! Show us the pictures!

More seriously: If somebody wants to lay out on the deck of a sailboat to catch some rays, where else are they going to do it?

I confess, I find myself sitting on the back of the seat of the cockpit sometimes.
I do that, too.

My question is, what do they mean when they are talking about Bow Riding as it pertains to sailboats?
I honestly have no idea. Never heard of the term before now.

Under what circumstances would you allow someone to go forward just to hang out?
Whenever they wanted and conditions allowed, except while racing. When racing, only the bow person is allowed up there. Weight forward like that is generally non-optimal.

Jim
 

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Bow riding usually refers to allowing passengers to sit with extremities over the gunwhales. I advise inexperienced guests to keep any bodyparts, at least those they are planning to bring home with them, inside the life lines.

 

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I don't think I have ever heard of anyone getting a citation or even a warning for having people on the bow of a sailboat. The only times I have ever restricted movement of my crew or passengers to the bow to either work or hangout was when the conditions were very rough and would be dangerous for more than one person to go up on deck. I think the rule pertains to powerboats and the risk of passengers falling overboad and then being instantly run over by the 200+hp motor and spinning prop...I'm sure there will be someone who disagrees but in my own opinion I wouldn't even think twice about it and just enjoy yourself when your out on your boat and pay attention to the rules and laws that matter.
I do not know the laws there either. My understanding, like nk235, was that it was illegal to hang your feet off the bow while a vessel was underway. I do not know if that applies to sailing vessels too... but it sure would be a bad place to fall overboard no matter the boat.

- CD
 

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It is a BIG issue on powerboats as even with railings many people have sliped off and into the prop

Then again on bowrider powerboats just sitting in the bow seats is a very common sorce of serious injury when crossig boat wakes
 

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I have seen that "bow riding" is considered to be negligent operation. I've also seen pictures on this site of people doing just that. My wife has been caught on film laying out on the foredeck of a sailboat underway, and I suspect that some of our friends would enjoy it too. I confess, I find myself sitting on the back of the seat of the cockpit sometimes.

My question is, what do they mean when they are talking about Bow Riding as it pertains to sailboats? Under what circumstances would you allow someone to go forward just to hang out? I want to make sure that if I allow it as a skipper that it is legal, or at least it is safe.

I live in Illinois and sail on Lake Michigan, if that makes a difference.

Roger
Any "Bow Riding" prohibitions that I've heard of were aimed primarily at powerboats. I'm sure in states where it is prohibited, this would technically apply to a sailboat under motor power.

But normally "bow riding" refers to the practice of sitting on the edge of the bow and hanging/dangling one's feet under the bow rails or pulpit. There are many boats that have seating configured in the bows, and there is no prohibition that I'm aware of against using that seating while underway provided it is within the confines of the hull.

We sit and ride on the bow of our boat all the time. I do not let anybody sit out on the sprit or dangle their legs while we are motoring, but under sail it is a fun thing to do and we allow it. In fact we encourage our kids to do it if they complain of boredom.:)
 

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on the lighter side

My partner Michele was sitting on the bow one day while out on a saturday. A huge stink pot went by making the typical 4ft hight wake. "Michele! your gonna get wet!" she just looks back and smile.. dip bob dip bob... splash! she was soaked! "told you so!" I yelled... she yelled back "thought you were kidding!" :eek:
 

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Any "Bow Riding" prohibitions that I've heard of were aimed primarily at powerboats. I'm sure in states where it is prohibited, this would technically apply to a sailboat under motor power.

But normally "bow riding" refers to the practice of sitting on the edge of the bow and hanging/dangling one's feet under the bow rails or pulpit. There are many boats that have seating configured in the bows, and there is no prohibition that I'm aware of against using that seating while underway provided it is within the confines of the hull.

We sit and ride on the bow of our boat all the time. I do not let anybody sit out on the sprit or dangle their legs while we are motoring, but under sail it is a fun thing to do and we allow it. In fact we encourage our kids to do it if they complain of boredom.:)
John, I had lots of kids on my boat mainly because I have lots of kids (6). I do not allow my kids ride the bow, it does not matter if we are motoring or if we are sailing. When we are sailing I am just afraid of one of the kids going under the bow and being hit in the back of the head by the keel as I am of them being hit by the prop. But I am no party pooper. The rule on my boat is if they want to ride the rail on the side deck and dangle their feet in the water thats OK with me as long as they are on the side deck, behind the front of the keel.
 

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The bow riding laws are not written to target powerboats specifically even though bow riding incidents on powerboats are the reason the law exists.

I personally have been "pulled over" by the DNR cops in Annapolis because my wife and daughter were hanging their feet over the bow on our 34' sailboat...we were doing 2 knots at the time. They didn't fine me, but told me that they could.

A friend of mine knows one of the DNR officers that works in Annapolis and he told my buddy that the racers hanging their legs over the side during racing are actually breaking the law, but the cops "just don't enforce that".
 

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You mean like this? Seems safe to me.



Everything depends on the conditions. The general rule on our boat is that if you want to hang your feet off the boat, it has to be very far aft, behind the prop, if the motor's on. Otherwise, go for it, but the kids have to be fully seated on the boat, bodies entirely inside the lines. If they want their feet in the water, no reaching for it. They go to the leeward side and we try to oblige. I see others follow similar practices.
 

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Pls. come to your senses dear friends!
There should be no talk whether bow riding is legal, but rather about being safe enough. Well then, in my view there are very rare occasions where the practice is reasonably safe and certainly never for small children. Since I was young I have always learnt that while sailing we should remain in the cockpit (the safest part on deck) unless we had a useful, precise task to perform elsewhere.
 

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Bow riding usually refers to allowing passengers to sit with extremities over the gunwhales. I advise inexperienced guests to keep any bodyparts, at least those they are planning to bring home with them, inside the life lines.

I'm just glad to know that I'm not the only one out there that steers with their feet.

And I just wanted to keep the page really freakin' wide.
 

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Pls. come to your senses dear friends!
There should be no talk whether bow riding is legal, but rather about being safe enough. Well then, in my view there are very rare occasions where the practice is reasonably safe and certainly never for small children. Since I was young I have always learnt that while sailing we should remain in the cockpit (the safest part on deck) unless we had a useful, precise task to perform elsewhere.
Very rare occasions? That might be overstating the danger a tad. I would say that the discussion should be about discretion being left up to the skipper, but I already know where THAT's going to go:

"But what about the stupid, drunk, incompetent, etc. powerboaters?"

"What if your child was on a boat with a bad bowride-supporting parent and a pirate? Wouldn't you want the police to stop them?"

Blah blah blah ad nauseum.
 

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I grew up on a sailboat and have been on the bow in all types of weather, and not always safely.

I would not recommend the following, of which I have done and are some of my best memories as a child.

1. At the age of 6 hung from the bow sprit while under sail trying to touch dolphins that were playing just in front of the boat.

2. At the age of 13 while doing the newport beach to ensanada race standing on the bowsprit and screaming at the competition to get the hell out of our way as we had the right of way to the starting line.

3. Not proud of this one at all. As a teenager and on a friends newport 30 with double storm warning flags flying urinated off the bowsprit while singing at the top of my lungs, at night while drunk.

Enjoy the bowsprit, let me know what you come up with.
 

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Ah. What we need is more idiotic regulations like this. Sailors should also be required to wear safety helmets at all times. And there should be cameras out on the water to record any breaking of regulations. Also, all sailboats should be made entirely out of rubber. Also, The government has taken over your life. Happy?


Best Regards,


e

.::.
 

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Pls. come to your senses dear friends!
There should be no talk whether bow riding is legal, but rather about being safe enough. Well then, in my view there are very rare occasions where the practice is reasonably safe and certainly never for small children. Since I was young I have always learnt that while sailing we should remain in the cockpit (the safest part on deck) unless we had a useful, precise task to perform elsewhere.
Our kids have been safely scampering around on deck since they were in diapers, so I'm going to quibble with your use of the word "never".

Of course, each skipper must use their own judgement, depending on their comfort level and the characteristics of their vessel. The boat designs we have chosen for our family sailing all have had features that make moving around on deck much safer than many of the more mainstream designs. Wide, clear side decks, raised bulwarks, 30+" stanchions with double lifelines all contribute. It is unusual for someone that is accustomed to the mainstream boats to come aboard our boat and not comment about how much more secure they feel moving about on deck.

Unless conditions have deteriorated tremendously or we are preparing for a difficult manoeuver, folks are free to move about on deck, including sitting on the foredeck (no "bow riding" when the engine is running). Another factor that contributes to safety on our foredeck is a vertical leading edge of the coachroof which, unlike the raked/inclined versions that have been in vogue, makes for a very solid backrest/brace.
 

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I grew up on a sailboat and have been on the bow in all types of weather, and not always safely.

I would not recommend the following, of which I have done and are some of my best memories as a child.

1. At the age of 6 hung from the bow sprit while under sail trying to touch dolphins that were playing just in front of the boat.

2. At the age of 13 while doing the newport beach to ensanada race standing on the bowsprit and screaming at the competition to get the hell out of our way as we had the right of way to the starting line.

3. Not proud of this one at all. As a teenager and on a friends newport 30 with double storm warning flags flying urinated off the bowsprit while singing at the top of my lungs, at night while drunk.

Enjoy the bowsprit, let me know what you come up with.
Ladies and gentlemen - we have a winner. Bellie - you're all that!
 
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