What boating practices can be dangerous and unlawful?

On Behalf of | Jan 18, 2024 | Maritime Law

Sailing or boating can be thrilling and exciting, but this leisure pastime often comes with risks that can endanger the vessel and its passengers within the blink of an eye. Boat operators are responsible for preventing or avoiding these risks, emphasized by restrictions enforced by maritime law. These regulations can also apply to specific boating practices that may seem harmless.

Some unlawful practices can be more apparent, such as exceeding speed limits and operating in restricted areas. Others can be more complex, including the following:

  • Operating a vessel while intoxicated, meaning having the alcohol impact the operator’s abilities or a blood alcohol concentration of at least .08
  • Cruising too closely to other boats or watercrafts, especially when engaging in recreational water activities
  • Anchoring in spots that can make the vessel an obstruction to others passing through the area
  • Doing water sports around 30 minutes before sunrise and after sunset, with exemptions based on the circumstances
  • Taking water sports too far, potentially disregarding the safety of participants
  • Operating the craft near vicinities with flags indicating diving activities are ongoing below

All boat operators who completed the required courses and programs should know about these violations. Depending on the situation, these offenses can lead to severe penalties, including fines and jail time.

Having a qualified operator

Maritime laws and operator qualifications exist to prevent possible accidents offshore and keep passengers safe if they ever do happen. Before leaving the dock, you should ensure that the boat’s operator has the proper certifications, whether the vessel is a personal or rented craft. By following safety measures and regulations, everyone in the boat can enjoy the excursion without suffering losses due to unsafe and unlawful practices.