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Old    Steve Williams (jsw)      Join Date: Apr 2009       08-05-2013, 8:53 AM Reply   
Has anyone been stopped and cited for not wearing a life jacket while surfing? I got a ticket yesterday for this. The officer said the fine was $10 but the ticket amount was $296.50 if I didn't want to go to court. Just wondering if anyone has any experience or knowledge on this. Seems a bit much to me.
Old    N L (drnate)      Join Date: Jul 2006       08-05-2013, 8:56 AM Reply   
What state? In Texas it is only illegal if you are being towed. If you were free surfing with no rope you would have been okay. I know state rules vary, however
Old    Steve Williams (jsw)      Join Date: Apr 2009       08-05-2013, 9:06 AM Reply   
Tennessee
Old    Steve Williams (jsw)      Join Date: Apr 2009       08-05-2013, 9:09 AM Reply   
During the stop he asked both me and the driver how I got up because he noticed I didn't have the rope. I wonder if this could cause it to be thrown out. This is all the TWRA law says: "Skiers must wear an adequate and effective life preserver, buoyant vest or life belt. If the device worn is not Coast Guard approved, then an approved device for the skier must be on board the towing vessel. Citations to court may be issued to the vessel operator and/or the skier if the vessel or the ski are manipulated in a manner which endangers life limb or property."
Old    Andy Graham (ottog1979)      Join Date: Apr 2007       08-05-2013, 9:15 AM Reply   
Why not just wear a pfd? I don't get it.
Old    Rusty Yaple (nailem)      Join Date: Apr 2011       08-05-2013, 10:05 AM Reply   
what lake in TN? i have sufred Norris Lake with no vest but of course not been stopped or seen i guess.
Old    Nick Wiersema (Chaos)      Join Date: Apr 2010       08-05-2013, 10:31 AM Reply   
Across our great nation, you have varying state laws governing boating and boating activities. Each waterbody may additionally have their own set of rules/ordinances depending on who is in charge of managing the waterbody. In some cases these may conflict with the overarching state laws. Your citation is one of many examples of how the laws were written around water skiing, and not envisioning a future. At the present day with wake surfing once again growing and becoming much more prevalent on many waterbodies, most lake patrol officers don't really know what is a true offense and whether they should be writing tickets or not, under the umbrella of safety.

I would go to court or talk to the JP, magistrate or judge or their clerks, for some clarity.... chances are they will just want some money.... they will look at a payment chart and expect you to pay a fine....
Old    Mason Obray (MCObray)      Join Date: Mar 2013       08-05-2013, 10:33 AM Reply   
It's my understanding that in Oregon, it is legal to surf with a comp. vest/no vest, as long as there is a USCG PFD for you on the boat. I believe Oregon is one of the few states that posses a law like such.
Old    Steve Williams (jsw)      Join Date: Apr 2009       08-05-2013, 11:08 AM Reply   
Rusty - Tim's Ford
Old    Timmy! (timmyb)      Join Date: Apr 2007       08-05-2013, 11:11 AM Reply   
Quote:
Originally Posted by ottog1979 View Post
Why not just wear a pfd? I don't get it.
It's too much work when you fall and the board gets away to not wear one. I'm old, I always wear my non-approved jacket.

Good luck with court, hope you can get off without too much trouble.
Old    Charlie Zulu (Pad1Tai)      Join Date: Jan 2013       08-05-2013, 11:20 AM Reply   
In Texas the law reads that anyone under the age of 13 or if your on a PWC that a coast approved vest must be worn.. A vest is not required for wakeboarding or skiing but we always do..

I've grown up surfing in the ocean.. Never had a vest or seen one used.. The conditions are much more dangerous in turbulent surf..

"Why not wear one"???? If your not confident in your aquatic capabilities, then I definitely think you should.. But don't tell me to wear one unless your ready to have a swim comp from the middle of the lake to the dock with me.. Or back me up on this weekends triathlon..
Old    Andy Graham (ottog1979)      Join Date: Apr 2007       08-05-2013, 11:34 AM Reply   
I'm not talking about abilities or confidence. And, I'm not making comparisons to "real" surfing (of which I've done plenty in big dangerous conditions).

Given that the vast majority of states require a pdf when behind a boat, why risk bothering with what Steve Williams is having to deal with currently?
Old    Charlie Zulu (Pad1Tai)      Join Date: Jan 2013       08-05-2013, 11:39 AM Reply   
I check the states laws before we head out.. For instance in Oklahoma, vests are required and no one can sit on the rear deck while under power.. Arkansas requires vests but you can sit on the rear deck while under power.... There's a new law in the works here in Tx that no surfing within 150 feet of another vessel.. Ughhh..
Old    Corey North (HighWater)      Join Date: Apr 2012       08-07-2013, 6:29 AM Reply   
Quote:
Originally Posted by ottog1979 View Post
Why not just wear a pfd? I don't get it.
well for one here in GA, at about 100 degrees and 90% humidity towards the end of summer, a vest can be miserably hot. Last summer with so little rain, and crazy heat/sun everyday, one of the lakes we ride the water temp was pushing 90. But not to say its ok for everyone, know your limits and stay within those, meaning if your not an excellent swimmer its probably not a good idea.
Old    Trayson Harmon (trayson)      Join Date: May 2013       08-07-2013, 12:18 PM Reply   
I say go in and pay the fine. If you try to challenge this because it's a 'gray area' and not specifically addressed, all it is going to do is give them motivation to make MORE laws about watersports which often tend to be more restictive.

The law in WA addresses "water skiing" but you know that any judge is going to basicallly apply that to any behind the boat activity. I did LOL because they had to update the WA boating laws to address Marajuana in addition to alcohol since we legalized it in WA.

But seriously, why give them any reason to have to go back and amend the laws? Before you know it, you could end up with a law like they have on a section of the Willamette river in Oregon:

Quote:
OAR 250-020-0032 Boat Operations:
(5) On the Willamette River from the Hwy 219 Bridge at RM 48.5 to the upper end of Willow Island at RM 31.5, the following rules apply:
(a) No person shall operate a motorboat at a speed in excess of a "Slow - No Wake" maximum 5 mph speed within 100 feet of private docks, boathouses or moorages legally permitted by the Oregon Department of State Lands.
(b) Beginning January 1, 2010, no person shall use wake-enhancing devices, including ballast tanks, wedges or hydrofoils or other mechanical devices, or un-even loading of persons or gear, to artificially operate bow-high.
How LAME is that law!!! "no wake enhancing devices". Screw that.
Old    Mason Obray (MCObray)      Join Date: Mar 2013       08-07-2013, 3:14 PM Reply   
Quote:
Originally Posted by trayson View Post
I say go in and pay the fine. If you try to challenge this because it's a 'gray area' and not specifically addressed, all it is going to do is give them motivation to make MORE laws about watersports which often tend to be more restictive.

The law in WA addresses "water skiing" but you know that any judge is going to basicallly apply that to any behind the boat activity. I did LOL because they had to update the WA boating laws to address Marajuana in addition to alcohol since we legalized it in WA.

But seriously, why give them any reason to have to go back and amend the laws? Before you know it, you could end up with a law like they have on a section of the Willamette river in Oregon:



How LAME is that law!!! "no wake enhancing devices". Screw that.
Lol it does suck, but luckily there is a launch about 3 or so miles before the 219 bridge where you can do some real playing.
Old    Trayson Harmon (trayson)      Join Date: May 2013       08-07-2013, 3:20 PM Reply   
Quote:
Originally Posted by MCObray View Post
Lol it does suck, but luckily there is a launch about 3 or so miles before the 219 bridge where you can do some real playing.
^^^^^ Ninja Edit. ROFL
Old    Allan Kendall (Squid)      Join Date: Jun 2012       08-07-2013, 4:08 PM Reply   
Quote:
Originally Posted by timmyb View Post
It's too much work when you fall and the board gets away to not wear one. I'm old, I always wear my non-approved jacket.

Good luck with court, hope you can get off without too much trouble.
We love our comp vests. They provide plenty of buoyancy so our bodies can be found after getting hit by an intoxicated meat head that is not required to have any schooling to operate a boat in our state.

I know first hand...body recoveries suck... at the end of the day bad things happen to good people.

Please be safe..
Old    Mason Obray (MCObray)      Join Date: Mar 2013       08-07-2013, 11:23 PM Reply   
Quote:
Originally Posted by trayson View Post
^^^^^ Ninja Edit. ROFL
Good eye... good eye .
Old    Chris Hernandez (CHern5972)      Join Date: Jul 2012       08-08-2013, 4:28 AM Reply   
Just wear a Jacket. Not sure what you mean the board gets away and its tough.

Agree with allot of people, even a non approved would help and no be an eye magnet for the popo.
Old    Nauti 210 (brett33)      Join Date: Apr 2011       08-08-2013, 6:24 AM Reply   
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pad1Tai View Post
I check the states laws before we head out.. For instance, Arkansas requires vests but you can sit on the rear deck while under power....
I was at Bull Shoals in 2011 for Brostock and we got a ticket for being under way with passengers sitting on the rear deck. We were in gear idling to tie up when the GW got us. He said in Arkansas when the boat is under way, no passenger is allowed on the rear deck or gunnels... ALL passengers must be sitting down in their seats. I don't know if the law has changed since, but it cost me $250!
Old    Charlie Zulu (Pad1Tai)      Join Date: Jan 2013       08-08-2013, 7:35 AM Reply   
Nauti... Did they reference this as your violation?


Old    Nauti 210 (brett33)      Join Date: Apr 2011       08-08-2013, 7:47 AM Reply   
No, he straight up said "It's against Arkansas law for passengers not to be in their seat while the boat is underway and that includes sitting on the rear deck or gunwales."

Our driver at the time said "Uhhhhh ok, we were idling at like 2mph for maybe 30 seconds and you swat teamed us for that? He was just hell bent on writing us a ticket and we weren't going to push our luck, so we just went along with it and took the ticket. Lesson learned.
Old    Trayson Harmon (trayson)      Join Date: May 2013       08-08-2013, 8:43 AM Reply   
Quote:
Originally Posted by brett33 View Post
No, he straight up said "It's against Arkansas law for passengers not to be in their seat while the boat is underway and that includes sitting on the rear deck or gunwales."

Our driver at the time said "Uhhhhh ok, we were idling at like 2mph for maybe 30 seconds and you swat teamed us for that? He was just hell bent on writing us a ticket and we weren't going to push our luck, so we just went along with it and took the ticket. Lesson learned.
That sucks. In Oregon, you can be going 5mph or less and be cool. It also looks like in OR if you're docking that you're cool to be exempted.

Quote:
830.360

Riding on bow, gunwale or transom

(1) No person operating a motorboat shall allow any person to ride or sit on the deck over the bow of the boat while under way unless the motorboat is provided with adequate guards or railing.

(2) No person operating a motorboat shall allow any person to ride or sit on the starboard or port gunwales or on the transom of the boat while underway at a speed in excess of five miles per hour unless the motorboat is provided with adequate guards or railings.

(3) No person operating a motorboat shall allow any person to ride or sit on the bow, gunwale or transom railings while underway.

(4) Nothing in subsection (1) or (2) of this section:

(a) Is intended to prevent passengers or other persons aboard a boat from standing on the bow of the boat in order to moor the boat to a mooring buoy, float or dock or to cast off from such a buoy, float or dock or for any other necessary purpose; or

(b) Applies to a boat rigged and equipped as a sailboat when operating under sail power. [Formerly 488.140 [bad link]]
Old    Rusty Yaple (nailem)      Join Date: Apr 2011       08-08-2013, 9:21 AM Reply   
Quote:
I say go in and pay the fine. If you try to challenge this because it's a 'gray area' and not specifically addressed, all it is going to do is give them motivation to make MORE laws about watersports which often tend to be more restictive.
I always fight every ticket i get for anything unless i'm so far out of state that it would not be worth the trip. i have never paid the full price of a ticket that was faught and always get the points taken off.
although i have never been ticketed on the water for anything but the same whould hold true.
why just roll over and take it?
Old    Trayson Harmon (trayson)      Join Date: May 2013       08-08-2013, 9:27 AM Reply   
Quote:
Originally Posted by nailem View Post
I always fight every ticket i get for anything unless i'm so far out of state that it would not be worth the trip. i have never paid the full price of a ticket that was faught and always get the points taken off.
although i have never been ticketed on the water for anything but the same whould hold true.
why just roll over and take it?
The OP said in his post that if he went into court that he was told there would be a $10 fine. For $10, I wouldn't care.

That said, YES, I have a traffic attorney on speeddial on my phone and have a totally clear driving record because I fight and challenge every traffic infraction in my car. Just got a dismissal for my wife and another one for me a couple months ago per my traffic attorney.

In this case, when I was weighing the supposed $10 fine vs fighting it, I leaned towards the $10 because I could imagine that fighting it could bring about more case law on the matter and because a lot of the laws are fuzzy with respects to boating, that I could see that if things end up in court more often that it could prompt the need for clarifying legislation or additional legislation and I'm not a fan more more rules. I've seen laws starting to come out in some areas that would make surfing questionable. I guess I was just thinking that fighting in court could provide motivation to make things more legislated...
Old    Rusty Yaple (nailem)      Join Date: Apr 2011       08-08-2013, 1:43 PM Reply   
The way I read it was the fine was $10 but the total of the ticket was the $296 with all the BS add in. Maybe I'm wrong
Old    Rob Fullerton (Gotmods)      Join Date: Nov 2012       08-08-2013, 2:05 PM Reply   
Hmm, surfed right off the deck, never had a rope, but then would you be in a red zone? Kind of tricky.
Old    Steve Williams (jsw)      Join Date: Apr 2009       08-09-2013, 10:15 AM Reply   
I wouldn't have even started a thread over a $10 ticket. I'd gladly accept that and pay it. Unfortunately the ticket and whatever they have to add in was 296.50. Just wanted to see if anyone had a similar experience and what the outcome was. I've called both the court and TWRA, neither of which were very helpful. The lady at court said to come because they normally reduce court cost. TWRA said the violation could be given to either the owner/operator or the rider. Seems kind of ridiculous to me. Guess we'll see what happens. Here is what I found from the TN codes. See c 3 below.

TENNESSEE STATUTES AND CODES

69-9-216 - Prohibited acts.

(c) (1) Any person who operates a motorboat towing any person riding or attempting to ride upon one (1) or more water skis, surfboard, tube, specialty recreational device or similar device on the waters of the state shall have present in such vessel a person or persons, twelve (12) years of age or older, other than the operator, who shall at all times observe the progress of the person being towed and the operator of the towing vessel shall at all times maintain an alert lookout ahead. This provision does not apply to motorboats equipped with not less than a one hundred seventy degree (170) wide angle rear-view mirror affixed in such a manner as will permit the operator to observe the progress of the person being towed.

(2) No person shall ride or attempt to ride upon water skis, surfboard, tube, specialty recreational device or similar device, or use or operate any vessel to tow any person on the waters of the state between sunset and sunrise and during periods of restricted visibility, except upon special permit issued by the agency.

(3) Any person riding or attempting to ride upon one (1) or more water skis, surfboard, tube, specialty recreational device or similar device, shall wear an adequate and effective life preserver, buoyant vest, or life belt filled with kapok, styrofoam, or cork, except upon special permit issued by the agency. Any operator of a vessel towing any person on water skis, surfboard, tube, specialty recreational device or similar device who is not wearing a life preserver, buoyant vest or life belt as prescribed in this subdivision (c)(3) is deemed in violation of this section.
Old    Trayson Harmon (trayson)      Join Date: May 2013       08-09-2013, 10:28 AM Reply   
Looks pretty clear. Sounds like making a court appearance and asking for a reduction is your only recourse to make this less painful. :-( Bummer.

Quote:
(3) Any person riding or attempting to ride upon one (1) or more water skis, surfboard, tube, specialty recreational device or similar device, shall wear an adequate and effective life preserver, buoyant vest, or life belt filled with kapok, styrofoam, or cork, except upon special permit issued by the agency. Any operator of a vessel towing any person on water skis, surfboard, tube, specialty recreational device or similar device who is not wearing a life preserver, buoyant vest or life belt as prescribed in this subdivision (c)(3) is deemed in violation of this section.
Old    A.J. West (you_da_man)      Join Date: Sep 2009       08-09-2013, 8:51 PM Reply   
Quote:
Originally Posted by drnate View Post
What state? In Texas it is only illegal if you are being towed. If you were free surfing with no rope you would have been okay. I know state rules vary, however
You can wakesurf, wakeboard, tube, or ski WITHOUT a life vest in Texas. However, being towed by a PWC all activities being towed must wear a life vest.
Old    RB (boardman74)      Join Date: Jul 2012       08-10-2013, 6:36 AM Reply   
Yeps looks like TN has closed any loophole for surfing as it specifically says surfboard.
Old    Charlie Zulu (Pad1Tai)      Join Date: Jan 2013       08-10-2013, 11:55 AM Reply   
AJ is right... Anything on or behind a PWC requires a jacket.... Behind a boat it's 13 or younger requires one..
Old    kx250frider617            08-10-2013, 12:03 PM Reply   
I would just wear a comp jacket from now on just to avoid being pulled over. I find that if you give a reason for them to pull you over, they will find other things to cite you for. There was one time that I was the only boat out at the stadium, it was a week day, all gloomy so I was doing double-ups. Patrol pulled me over for traveling in the wrong direction. He then asked me for our fire extinguisher, CGA life vests, Registration, and flag. Well i guess we were having a off day because we forgot our Flag, fire extinguisher, throwable floatation device, had comp vests, and were traveling in the wrong direction. Luckily, I was very compliant, but the Patrol said that I had so many things wrong that I had to just leave for the day and didn't give me a ticket.

For those wondering why I didn't have that in the boat, we ride in salt so every sesh we take EVERYTHING out of the boat and wash it, I just forgot to put everything back in the night before.

Lessoned learned, just watch for patrol. We still do double-ups and wear comp vests, but we definitely won't forget our flag.
Old    Boarder 42 (jhartt3)      Join Date: Jan 2012       08-10-2013, 12:09 PM Reply   
why not just wear one. This is like the dumb seat belt arguement for cars or the helmet law for motorcycles... just get over it and protect yourself ... getting overworked for someone trying to help keep you safe.... yeah i get the arguement its your life you should do as you please but its the law its there for a reason just comply ... SAFETY SAFETY SAFETY ... more important than looking cool. Only reason i'm alive today was b/c of a seatbelt when i was 17... i hope none of you who have kids are teaching them bad habits by not wearing a life jacket the is CGA. kids look up to their parents and typically follow in their footsteps ... be SAFE yourself and teach your kids proper SAFETY
Old    Boarder 42 (jhartt3)      Join Date: Jan 2012       08-10-2013, 12:11 PM Reply   
Quote:
Originally Posted by kx250frider617 View Post

Lessoned learned, just watch for patrol. We still do double-ups and wear comp vests, but we definitely won't forget our flag.
Lesson NOT learned. breaking the law and watching for the police is not the answer... NOT breaking the law in the first place is the answer.
Old    kx250frider617            08-10-2013, 4:22 PM Reply   
Quote:
Originally Posted by jhartt3 View Post
Lesson NOT learned. breaking the law and watching for the police is not the answer... NOT breaking the law in the first place is the answer.
I guarantee everyone, including you, have done the same thing, such as driving a few mph over the speed limit, seeing a cop and slowing down. When boating laws are created by people who don't even boat, they are bound to always be broken. For instance, In CA are are legally supposed to pull in your rope when a rider falls. NO ONE does that. As far as traveling a few seconds in the wrong direction to complete my double up turn, I will always look for the patrol. If there is one i abort.

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