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Rules and Regulations

Here are a few rules, regulations and a court case relevant to the boating world.

The National Park Service is updating rules for boating in national parks,
lake shores etc. Examples of where the rules might apply are Indiana Dunes
Lake Shore
and Isle Royale Park. NPS boating rules had not been updated
since 1983.

Some of the proposed new rules are: a speed limit of 5 MPH in a no wake
zone regardless of sea conditions, a 5 MPH speed limit within 100 feet of a manually propelled craft or anchored vessel.

While these rules sound impressive they have limitations. Quoting them, “the NPS will enforce the laws and regulations of the United States Coast Guard and the state within whose exterior boundaries a park area or a portion thereof is located.” In other words if there is an existing state rule it takes precedence over these NPS rules.

Of interest is the following being prohibited, “Operating a power-driven vessel on waters not accessible by road.”

The regulations read that you can’t operate above a flat wake speed within 100 feet of “Manually propelled, anchored or drifting vessel unless the park is located within a state specifying different conditions then that state law is adopted in lieu of this paragraph.”

Since a sailing vessel is any vessel under sail, and power driven vessel means one propelled by machinery, manually powered would appear to mean canoe, rowboat, kayak etc.

So, frustrated light air sailors whose minimal mode of power is bounced from their sails by passing power boats will have to continue to look for relief.

Pending in the Michigan Legislature is an interesting bill pertaining to boating. House Bill 4140 would relieve “An owner of a nonmotorized livery boat is not liable for an injury to or the death of a user of the nonmotorized livery boat resulting from a risk inherent in the use or operation of a nonmotorized livery boat.”

Inherent risks are said to include: Weather conditions, malfunction of equipment, except for equipment owned by the owner of a nonmotorized livery boat, and failure to use or wear a personal flotation device or to have lifesaving equipment available.

This bill does not pertain to sailing, but it’s concept could. There are always risks and the responsible mariner will handle them best.

In Minnesota the Supreme Court has ruled that boats can be searched by conservation officers without probable cause. Fishing is a recreational activity which people voluntarily participate in and so have knowledge of regulations. Therefore they can be boarded and searched.

A contrary view is that this is simply a violation of the 4th amendment, just another lessening of privacy.

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This entry was posted on Tuesday, September 30th, 2003 at 7:00 pm and is filed under Rowing Reporter. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

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