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Old 04-13-2021, 07:43 AM   #16
Dave R
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Originally Posted by jeffk View Post
While I appreciate very much the Marine Patrol reminder, it seems like enforcement of this law is based on the whimsical nature of an individual boat and the wind and current of the day, something that is impossible for an individual patrol officer, on the spot, to know. That reduces the law mostly to an officer's opinion of "I know excessive wake when I see it". It also creates a difficult defence for a boater. How can I prove that the current was such, and the wind was that, and enumerate all the characteristics of my boat that "required" me to travel at the speed I was to maintain steerage?

Further, are you going to take up court time and legal costs to fight what might be an unreasonable but essentially trivial ticket?

I also suspect that enforcement may be limited to egregious situations as to not make the law a nuisance to boaters, similar to the leeway most officers extend for speeding in cars.

I know this has been discussed and opinions are all over the place. Just my opinion.
It's a tough situation because of the possibility of current, and they really have no choice but to leave it subjective.

I routinely pass under the Hampton River draw bridge and unless it's slack tide, there's always a stiff current there. The water often swirls violently and the navigable channel under the bridge is narrow. By law, I'm not allowed to make a wake under the bridge, in practice, you'd have to be insane or inexperienced to attempt to pass under that bridge slowly. My boat displaces over 32,000 lbs, is 50'LOA, and it gets pushed around like a bath toy under that bridge, unless I power through "purposefully" (I make sure the boat is lined up with the channel and the rudders are straight before entering, then throttle up aggressively so that I'm accelerating smartly as I pass under the bridge). One of my marina neighbors sideswiped the bridge last year with a 45,000 lb boat trying to go through gently at 5 knots. I came close to doing that once in 2019 and won't make that mistake again.
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