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Discussion Starter #1
I recently got a warning for having people outside of the lifelines / railing of a boat while in motion. The person was safely seated on the back of a bench seat near the transom. There feet were actually on the deck which extends well behind the rail. They had secure handholds all around them. Common sense says to me they were in no danger what so ever. Did I break any laws or was this cop off-base here?

I said very little and didn't ask any questions since I was getting a warning and not the $320 ticket.
 

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Where do you sail?...here in Sarasota bay..they can only afford one or two watercops on the weekends...or thurs-Sunday....Longboat key has a boat or two in the water every day..and the Sarasota County Fire has one in the water every day but at the dock I think..not patrolling. You just dont see the water police here very much anymore...i'ts okay by me ..I try to sail where there is nobody much around anyway....but there are alot of situations that can happen and lots of weekend boaters tying one on all the day at the sand bars....then they motor home...
 

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If you have one lifeline, the racing rules allow you to put your legs under it and outside the boat but your upper body must be inside. If you have two lifelines made of wire, then you can put your torso under the upper lifeline. If there's something you need to do, like free a line, you can be anywhere you need to when you do. Hanging from your ankles off the side of a boat on it's ear to cut a line wrapped on the keel would be ok.

But that's when racing. When not racing I haven't heard of any rules about where you can be, other than "teak surfing", which is being dragged behind a boat while hanging on to the swim platform. Not sure if that one even applies to sail boats not under power, since it's the prop and the exhaust that cause the danger. But local town councils LOVE to make up laws. Maybe someone, probably a child, got hurt on or near a boat. So now the politicos have to make some law so they can act like they're doing something. Think of the children! You must pass my law! The law itself is nearly irrelevant. Just pick some minority, like boaters, and create some regulation that will only bother that minority. So you get some local law that no one may be past the railing or lifeline in any way.
 

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Let me guess .... you got stopped by the 'raging Annapolis water nazis'.

Annapolis and the far surrounding area has become a nasty place for these **legal thugs** to prey upon any boat at any time and for very obviously absolutely nothing more than to make a 'pinch'. Im sure that you had to show the 'officer' that you had 'whistles firmly attached to your pfd', and other inane and little known statutes of the Maryland boating laws, etc.

Unless the Chesapeake boating community vehemently responds to this obvious and escalating 'aggressive revenue income opportunity', scream bloody murder by writing formal protestations, etc. etc. .... we all will continue to become 'a prey species'. I especially avoid Annapolis harbor and have written to many of the businesses there that I **used to** patronize stating that I will not return until they 'control the overt legal thuggery that is occurring there' by the MD STATE marine police.
:)
 

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Don't know what to say. Live and learn I guess.
I have never heard of anyone getting written up for such in our area.
I would not think it would be a violation or maybe its just not enforced around here.
 

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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.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Those rules make sense to me, except number 5. I was clearly in violation of this poorly written rule. Think of all of the small sailboats out the designed so you sit on gunwale to sail it. The seat backs of the cockpit in my sailboat is a perfectly safe place to sit. This just leaves the door open for cops to enforce the rule whenever they feel like it and you never know if you are in violation or not. I can understand the bow riding part, but the transom bit makes no sense to me. If you fell in off the transom you would certainly get wet, but I can't imagine it could hurt anyone.
 

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I have a carefully designed and installed hammock type seat that hangs over my transom. It is a option installed by the manufacturer of the boat, who builds them right there in Annapolis.

I'd love to see them write me a ticket for sitting on it.
 

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Something tells me if you would have gotten a ticket the court would have dropped the charges. I bet the guy used that as an excuse to stop you giving him a chance to see if you had alcohol in sight.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I'm glad I read the 11 pages of MD rules. Thanks to bheintz for the link.

I see the boating under the influence rule is 0.08%. However, unless I missed it there is no open container law. So I think you can drink and drive as long as you are below 0.08 Is this correct?

The VA laws are much different than the MD laws.
 

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Don Radcliffe
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In your state, can you be busted for having cocktails at anchor/mooring/dock? Even when underway, who is the operator--the sober crew at the helm or the drunken captain in his bunk?
 

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Discussion Starter #15
The law says "It is unlawful to operate or attempt to operate a vessel..."

So I think you would have a pretty good case that at anchor, mooring, or dock that you were not operating or attempting to operate.
 
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