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Old     (ScottR)      Join Date: Aug 2011       04-26-2012, 10:14 AM Reply   
Ok, I am in Indiana and mainly ride at a state owned lake. I have heard that wearing a life jacket while surfing or riding is not the law? I have always rocked a comp jacket and went to get a CGA jacket and was told I didn't need one. (so I bought another comp..lol) Anyway, what i want to know is, can I really ride without a jacket?

I wouldn't do this while wakeboard just cuz, but surfing is different story. Just want to see if this is true or not. What he said was.."As long as you have enought CGA jackets in the boat that is all you have to have by law"

Flood gates open...
Old     (bushtree)      Join Date: Jul 2005       04-26-2012, 10:26 AM Reply   
I would assume law is different in different states.

That said, here you do not have to use a CGA vest while riding. wake boarding or surfing. You need a flotation jacket, but it does not need to be CGA, therefore a comp vest is perfectly good.

HOWEVER, you are required to have 1 CGA vest per person on the boat easily accessible. And every time we are stopped, they are asked for as part of a "safety check" along with a throwable floatation device, fire extinguisher, registration, and sober driver.
Old     (ndh2o)      Join Date: Oct 2001       04-26-2012, 10:43 AM Reply   
We can ride with no vest here in NC as well, as long as there is one CGA in the boat for every person. I still wear mine 100% time riding and 90% time surfing.
Old     (ScottR)      Join Date: Aug 2011       04-26-2012, 10:50 AM Reply   
Yeah I will still wear it...(I have 4 kids who aren't allowed to ever take theirs off so I need to set a good example) but for surfing I may try it once or twice without anything if I can find the real answer.... (without kids on boat)
Old     (coonj13)      Join Date: Apr 2012       04-26-2012, 11:25 AM Reply   
I am getting a comp vest a week or two. I've always ridden CGA but now my CGA will stay in the boat while I rock my comp vest


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Old     (tonyv420)      Join Date: Jul 2007       04-26-2012, 11:42 AM Reply   
CGA only in Washington, no matter what your doing behind the boat
Old     (tke104)      Join Date: Jun 2010       04-26-2012, 11:57 AM Reply   
I'm not sure how accurate this is but according to section 4.2 you need to wear a CGA PFD: http://www.uscgboating.org/state_boating_laws.aspx
Old     (Dmcastino)      Join Date: Sep 2010       04-26-2012, 12:27 PM Reply   
I can't tell you if it is legal or not, but I can tell you why I continue wearing at minimum a comp vest while I surf:

I'm from Indiana as well and I have lived on a reservoir near Indy my whole life, and like I am sure most of you can identify with, I've had plenty of run-ins with DNR/Police on said reservoir. The one thing I have learned for certain through all of the encounters is that you need to take everything everyone has ever told you about the subtleties of laws on lakes with a grain of salt, and IMO, that even includes what the authorities tell you. It seems to me that a lot of the different people that patrol the lakes have different opinions on what is legal and what isn't and as we all know they will jump at any possible chance to pull you over. I would think there is enough of a gray area concerning something as specific and relatively new as wakesurfing that even if it is technically legal to surf without a vest of some sort, there is still a pretty good chance that you might get pulled over and at minimum hassled about life jackets and what not, which to me is personally not worth the risk if all I have to do is throw a comp vest on. For example, I've been told by a DNR officer that it was legal to wakesurf at night as long as we kept it below the 10mph speed limit that is enforced. However, he also said that technically you could still be ticketed for "reckless operation" or something like that if the officer "felt that we were being unsafe"..... On the reservoir I live on, if we were cruising around throwing, massive rollers at 9mph at night, I will guarantee you that we will get pulled over and I'm sure they would find something to ticket us for. Hell we got a ticket for "not displaying a stern light" last year when we went under a bridge and had to take it down for 15 yards to fit under the bridge....


So I suppose the overall message I'm trying to convey with this rant is this: DNR/Police will always find a reason to pull you over and they seem to usually be able to find some excuse to ticket you and even if they dont they have burnt 45 minutes of your day on the water, so I would just throw on a comp vest if it were me and avoid all the hassle haha.
Old     (mastercraf)      Join Date: Jul 2009       04-30-2012, 9:26 AM Reply   
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dmcastino View Post
I can't tell you if it is legal or not, but I can tell you why I continue wearing at minimum a comp vest while I surf:

I'm from Indiana as well and I have lived on a reservoir near Indy my whole life, and like I am sure most of you can identify with, I've had plenty of run-ins with DNR/Police on said reservoir. The one thing I have learned for certain through all of the encounters is that you need to take everything everyone has ever told you about the subtleties of laws on lakes with a grain of salt, and IMO, that even includes what the authorities tell you. It seems to me that a lot of the different people that patrol the lakes have different opinions on what is legal and what isn't and as we all know they will jump at any possible chance to pull you over. I would think there is enough of a gray area concerning something as specific and relatively new as wakesurfing that even if it is technically legal to surf without a vest of some sort, there is still a pretty good chance that you might get pulled over and at minimum hassled about life jackets and what not, which to me is personally not worth the risk if all I have to do is throw a comp vest on. For example, I've been told by a DNR officer that it was legal to wakesurf at night as long as we kept it below the 10mph speed limit that is enforced. However, he also said that technically you could still be ticketed for "reckless operation" or something like that if the officer "felt that we were being unsafe"..... On the reservoir I live on, if we were cruising around throwing, massive rollers at 9mph at night, I will guarantee you that we will get pulled over and I'm sure they would find something to ticket us for. Hell we got a ticket for "not displaying a stern light" last year when we went under a bridge and had to take it down for 15 yards to fit under the bridge....


So I suppose the overall message I'm trying to convey with this rant is this: DNR/Police will always find a reason to pull you over and they seem to usually be able to find some excuse to ticket you and even if they dont they have burnt 45 minutes of your day on the water, so I would just throw on a comp vest if it were me and avoid all the hassle haha.
MONROE?

Been on the ticket train there
Old     (bill_airjunky)      Join Date: Apr 2002       04-26-2012, 2:18 PM Reply   
Good stuff, Dave. I have to agree. Is wearing the vest so uncool that it's worth the risk of getting harassed by the man? Or worse, drowning? We own vests that we actually like, so wearing them is kinda cool on some level.
Old     (you_da_man)      Join Date: Sep 2009       04-26-2012, 3:13 PM Reply   
As others mentioned it's state by state as to riding/surfing without a vest. Texas does not require a vest for a rider/surfer behind a boat, however, a rider towed behind a PWC has to have a vest (I have no idea on that logic).
Old     (CobraRob)      Join Date: Aug 2010       04-26-2012, 7:38 PM Reply   
State by state for sure.. I agree with the above though. Wear the comp vest at a minimum since it gives them less reason to pull you over. Especially at the beginning of the season..

Now last year got stopped by coast guard.. All good no issues here's your receipt so you can just show us next time..

The local though a week later.. They gave me a lecture about how I could not keep the jackets in the rear locker since that is a container. I explained the coast guard said the locker is fine but you can't keep them in a zipper pouch or anything inside that. Well wrong thing to say even though I was nice about it and just asking. Local said no they have to be out which I said uhhh WTF? The x-45 seats 18 so i have around 20-22 jackets on board at all times. We keep them all in one rear locker where everyone that gets on my boat knows where they are. You are telling me it's safer to have them all laying on the floor where they will flyout and people are going to trip over etc?

After he gave me my sticker I put them all back in the locker and drove away

The laws are so subjective and not clear.
Old     (rallyart)      Join Date: Nov 2006       04-26-2012, 7:56 PM Reply   
In Canada the boat driver can get a criminal charge for having a rider who's not wearing an approved vest (national law). On the plus side, our beer is better. (But that might be another criminal charge)
Old     (nitrousbird)      Join Date: Sep 2008       04-30-2012, 5:48 AM Reply   
Quote:
Originally Posted by rallyart View Post
In Canada the boat driver can get a criminal charge for having a rider who's not wearing an approved vest (national law). On the plus side, our beer is better. (But that might be another criminal charge)
I've drank a number of different Canadian beers - from both stuff you can get everywhere to Province and local-specific stuff. It's not better.

As for jackets, Ohio requires CGA behind the boat, no matter what. I wear a comp jacket, not because it helps me at all, but I found one with a back support built in that has helped me when my back isn't feeling up to par. I also don't see the point in surfing or doing anything behind the boat without one...is it really going to hurt you to put at least a comp jacket on?
Old     (Thrall)      Join Date: Oct 2010       04-26-2012, 10:53 PM Reply   
I look at it this way. I like to enjoy a few (or more) drinks when I'm out on the boat for the day, so I make every effort to not be "that guy" that gets pulled over.
When I see the fish cops, the music gets turned down, everyone on their best behavior and all riders regardless of whats on their feet are wearing a vest. 1st for safety and 2nd because you can spot someone standing up behind the boat from a long ways away without a vest on.
Old     (scharette)      Join Date: Aug 2010       04-27-2012, 4:38 AM Reply   
I always wear my comp vest for wake surfing. 3 years ago i almost drowned when i fell in front of my wakesurfer. My board struck me right in the forehead. Thanks god i had my comp vest. it kept me floating while i was almost unconscious.
Old     (cwb4me)      Join Date: Apr 2010       04-27-2012, 5:17 AM Reply   
Quote:
Originally Posted by scharette View Post
I always wear my comp vest for wake surfing. 3 years ago i almost drowned when i fell in front of my wakesurfer. My board struck me right in the forehead. Thanks god i had my comp vest. it kept me floating while i was almost unconscious.
That is why i always wear a CGA vest.You can't put on a vest after you get knocked out.What if a jet ski jumping your wake hits you? You laugh,but the rent these jet skis to people who have never operated one before.What if your boat hits an obstruction? There are all kinds of possibilites.
Old     (baitkiller)      Join Date: Jan 2010       04-27-2012, 5:11 AM Reply   
On a side but related note, I tend to take all riding vests and snap them over the rail Bimni legs. It keeps them dry for the next guy. The balance of orange type II PFDs I need for head count are in a Velcro bag under a seat.

The interesting thing is that since I started hanging the riding vests on the rail I quit getting pulled. I mean it went from once a month to zero in two years. They all just smile and wave at me. And I have, hmm, lets see here, CG, Police, Sheriff, DNR, Fisheries, and a few more I cant think of. all with blue lights, guns and ticket books and their own interpolation of law.
Be safe, ride sober, have fun.
Old     (ScottR)      Join Date: Aug 2011       04-27-2012, 6:51 AM Reply   
Good info. I have always worn a jacket and will always, but hearing it wasn't a law of course was interesting. Seeing guys surfing in the ocean without a jacket just looks free... anyway thanks for all the stories. Jacket's will stay on in our boat and behind.
Old     (shredthagnar)      Join Date: Oct 2011       04-27-2012, 6:55 AM Reply   
Just got a ticket end of last year for riding without a cga jacket on johns lake Florida. Not my first one either
Old     (mark197)      Join Date: Dec 2009       04-27-2012, 6:59 AM Reply   
When we are on the river I always wear my jacket because of the current but often times when we are on the lake I won't. I always wear it wakeboarding though because of the speed (NCGA Jet Pilot A10) In Wisconsin if you are training for a comp you do not have to have one on.
Old     (fuzzball147)      Join Date: Apr 2010       04-28-2012, 6:28 AM Reply   
Hey Scott, just remember when you come across to Illinois you have to have CGA regardless.
Old     (brett564)      Join Date: Jul 2006       04-30-2012, 12:45 AM Reply   
For anyone wondering from Cali, you must ride with a CGA vest, unless you're competing in a tournament or something similar.
Old     (hunter660)      Join Date: Aug 2007       04-30-2012, 6:37 AM Reply   
I would at least wear a comp. I wear a CGA when I ride, but will buy a comp when I find a good deal on what I want. I had a buddy fall last year will surfing and came up with a HUGE cut on his head. It required several staples and he had no idea anything even happened. Its very possible you could get hit by a board and knocked out while surfing.
Old     (Raf1985)      Join Date: Mar 2012       04-30-2012, 7:12 AM Reply   
Apparently there is no laws about it in AZ, other than kids under 12 must have one at all times. They really dont enforce it though, my daughter is 9 and only uses it when she's behind the boat.
Old     (srock)      Join Date: Mar 2002       04-30-2012, 11:31 AM Reply   
Ever try swimming with a pulled muscle or a big bump on the head from your own gear running you down. Ever try swimming while unconscious or after torqued back. Ever argue with a 4 year old on why he needs to wear a vest. I have done all those and I'm glad I was in a vest. Is it really that big a deal?
Old     (wakebrdr94)      Join Date: Jul 2010       04-30-2012, 2:41 PM Reply   
Is it really that uncool to wear a jacket? Kind of like not wearing a helmet while skating, except your buddy can throw you and your bleeding head over his shoulder and get you to the hospital. You disappear under the water, your buddies are not finding you. This is the exact reason they need to make sure the pro's are wearing a jacket during film shoots. "hell, parks doesn't wear a jacket why should I"

*parks can do whatever he wants, when you land a double half cab roll, so can you
Old     (surferman85)      Join Date: Dec 2011       04-30-2012, 4:54 PM Reply   
California law now sez CG approved life jacket required for all watersports. Laws are dif from state to state but for less hassles from the law I would go with at least the outlaw and would never ever ever let anybody ride behind our boat for any sport without one
Old     (scottnaz)      Join Date: Feb 2008       04-30-2012, 6:16 PM Reply   
AZ:

ARTICLE 4. REQUIRED EQUIPMENT 5-331. Personal flotation devices; exceptions
A. All watercraft, except sailboards, shall carry United States coast guard approved personal flotation devices of the type and category prescribed by regula-tions of the commission. There shall be one such device in good and serviceable condition for each person on board and so placed as to be readily accessible for immediate use.
B. Any person being towed behind a watercraft shall wear a buoyant belt or personal flotation device while being towed except for a performer engaged in a pro-fessional exhibition.
C. A child twelve years of age or under on board a watercraft shall wear a United States coast guard approved type I, II or III personal flotation device whenever the watercraft is underway.
D. The provisions of subsection C shall not apply to small passenger vessels that are not for hire on navi-gable waters, that maintain a coast guard certificate of inspection and that are being operated by United States coast guard licensed pilots within a distance of one-fourth mile from the nearest shore as a means of transporting passengers and when the duration of time the vessel is underway on the water does not exceed ten minutes.

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