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Old     (oaf)      Join Date: Jul 2002       07-08-2008, 9:23 PM Reply   
Over at Tigeowners another wakesurfer got a warning of Negligent Operation and the officer wouldn't listen to anything the operator was trying to explain about the sport.

I know this has been covered before somewhere, but does anyone have a handout that can be given to an officer in this case that can better explain the sport? What other web sites besides for information (it is a good one)? Just looking for some guidance or a what to do if you get stopped for wakesurfing check list.
Old     (surfdad)      Join Date: Sep 2004       07-09-2008, 9:29 AM Reply   
Hey Coach I am very confused by that thread over at The operator indicated that he was warned and told to get a longer rope. So, it would appear that the only issue is the length of the rope? To me the first question I would have asked is: what length is acceptable? Without that guidance, the event just seems confusing. Every peace officer I have ever dealt with on this issue is very informative. So..."get a 21 foot rope" would be what I would have expected to be the officers comment. Most, that I know of, truly wish to keep us safe and deal with specifics, rather than the nebulous "get a longer rope". That just opens up for a wise acre to add 1" to the rope. See officer - it's longer. :-) I am NOT condoning that! :-)

We have seen a number of instances where the 21 foot rope rule is impacting Federal waterways and perhaps that is the issue here?
Old     (xpjim1)      Join Date: Apr 2005       07-09-2008, 4:11 PM Reply   
The operator was me. I was informed I recieved the warning for the surfer being too close to the boat and if my rider was a minor I would have recieved a child endangerment ticket. I did not get a chance to talk to the officer because everytime I went to ask a question I was told to be quiet. I was trying to ask if it was a rope issue, told to be quiet. I asked if i could go get my downed surfer, I was told to be quiet. I tried to ask there view on wakesurfering and was told to be quiet. As they were driving off they said use a longer rope but I did not get their take on wakesurfing without the rope etc. I am chalking this up to this being Sunday Afternoon on a long holiday weekend. This is the first time an officer did not want to talk as I have found that the state rangers and Mohave County sherriffs are all about education
Old     (xpjim1)      Join Date: Apr 2005       07-09-2008, 4:12 PM Reply   
Also I agree with Coach on what materials would be good to carry to help explain the safety of the sport, that is when the officer will let you talk
Old     (xpjim1)      Join Date: Apr 2005       07-09-2008, 4:14 PM Reply   
The rope did not come up until they were driving away. Again I had a ton of questions but had no chance or opportunity to ask them!!
Old     (surfdad)      Join Date: Sep 2004       07-09-2008, 4:23 PM Reply   
xpjim, how many times did the officer ask you to be quiet? I counted three in your recollection above.

Officers are human too and certainly after a long weekend can have frazzled nerves.

Yet I am still confused. Was the rope issue just an after thought? You mentioned at TO's that the rider was still trying to find the pocket, I'm assuming that he had the rope in hand and that's when the officer stopped you? Did he make reference to any code or specific law?

Certain laws - like the one in Idaho, do leave a great deal of interpretation to local law enforcement.

There is a NASBLA model law that makes reference to the safety of wakesurfing, but it is in parenthetical notation. I'm not sure how helpful that would be in this situation.
Old     (xpjim1)      Join Date: Apr 2005       07-09-2008, 5:00 PM Reply   
There was no reference to any specific law or code. The rope issue came up at the very end. His initial comments was the surfer was too close to the boat. The surfer did still have the rope in his hands. Again I tried to get more specific but did not get the chance.

One of his comments to me was if I had to stop suddemnly the surfer would hit the boat. I wanted to say you made me stop suddenly and my surfer is 20 to 30 feet behind me, but I thought it best to "Be Quiet"

I went out all day Monday and was even looking for the officer to have a conversation, but the lake was basically empty. Only a few boats and no law enforcement boats to be found

(Message edited by xpjim1 on July 09, 2008)

(Message edited by xpjim1 on July 09, 2008)
Old     (surfdad)      Join Date: Sep 2004       07-09-2008, 5:44 PM Reply   
Yeah, the "being quiet" was a good choice on your part.

The law in AZ is pretty similar to what is going on in Idaho, plus it sure souns like this officer was uninformed about wakesurfing in general.

There are two areas on AZ boating law that deal with this issue, both in Article 5. I have listed the URL for the law and then also 'cut 'n pasted the applicable sections:


5-341. Negligent operation of watercraft or water
skis; restriction in operation of
watercraft; violation; classification

D. No person on water skis, a surfboard or a similar
contrivance shall behave in a careless, reckless or
negligent manner.

5-346. Water skiing

B. The operator shall observe other watercraft traffic,
swimmers and hazards and shall not tow a person
or persons on water skis, a surfboard or similar contrivance
so close to other watercraft, swimmers or
structures as to constitute a hazard to life or limb of
any person.

Almsot always chatting with the officer or his immediate supervisor can help rectify any misunderstandings.

Under 5-341 you would need to establish that you weren't operating in a negligent manner. If the only issue was the proximity of the rider to the boat, and the concern, as expressed by the officer of a sudden stop by the operator you can esaily establish that what happens with wakesurfing is that the wake itself hits the back of the boat - usually pushing the boat forward, but also lifting the rider up and onto the swimpad - I know, I've done it. :-) While there is a risk of hitting your head on the boat, this very same risk exists with riding a PWC, or wakeskating, so that would seem to not be presumed negligent operation.

As regards 5-346 B, since the boat is moving away from rider, it would be difficult to understand the issue involved here.

Things to remember are the prop is up and under the boat, plus there is a swimdeck between the prop and rider, making wakesurfing one of the safest sports in existence.

I will find the NASBLA model law for you that has the reference to the relative safety of wakesurfing and I am sure that a calm, informative discussion with either the officer, asking for clarification, or with his immediate supervisior, you'll find the issue resolved.
Old     (dennish)      Join Date: May 2005       07-09-2008, 6:08 PM Reply   
here is the NASBLA safe boating model act.
Old     (crazyhippy)      Join Date: Apr 2008       07-09-2008, 10:09 PM Reply might be a good reference here. The Guy is a AZ cop in Parker, and Knows the laws really well.
Old     (oaf)      Join Date: Jul 2002       07-09-2008, 10:14 PM Reply   
I posted to his site last night and here is the thread. He was more concerned about CO2 not proximity to the boat. He thought guys where on their stomach in a prone position trying to get up like a regular surfboard (I know some do this). He suggested keeping a copy of the law in your boat to help educate the officer.
Old     (surfdad)      Join Date: Sep 2004       07-10-2008, 6:10 AM Reply   
What? There wasn't any reference to CO in the discussion according to xpjim1 - anyway the NASBLA model law was adopted by CA and the link that Dennis has provided has the history about removing wakesurfing from the law.

Full text of AB2222 that was adoptedin CA can be found here
Old     (dennish)      Join Date: May 2005       07-10-2008, 7:29 AM Reply   
Here is another reference article.
Old     (oaf)      Join Date: Jul 2002       07-10-2008, 7:56 AM Reply   
The CO2 was a reference to a post started on Boat Cop's web page who is they guy in charge of La Paz County water safety. This is not about xpjim1 encounter. I asked him some more general questions about wakesurfing.

This is one of the major weakness of this board. Not having an easy way to quote people.
Old     (xpjim1)      Join Date: Apr 2005       07-10-2008, 10:23 PM Reply   
I am considered an Arizona boater since that is where my boat is registered. Next trip out to Havasu i am going to take an extra day off and go talk to a few of the enforcement agencies. We have many since we are in both CA and AZ. Hopefully open lines of communication will prevail. All comes down to there definition of negligent
Old     (monkey)      Join Date: Oct 2002       07-16-2008, 6:26 PM Reply   
This whole "negligent" thing in that law leaves way too much at the discretion of the law enforcement officer, I mean, by some standards it would be considered negligent simply to operate a boat at Lake Havasu on a holiday weekend.
Old     (bac)      Join Date: Feb 2008       07-16-2008, 7:42 PM Reply   
Getting in touch with AZ is on the top of my list. I am curious to hear a higher up's interpretation of "negligent operation". This now seems to be the way the wardens/deputies are getting away with writing tickets for surfing. I could understand if you were being an idiot behind the boat and deserved it, but if you were surfing safely, there should be no issue. There is inherent danger in anything, so it sounds like this is something they use to issue a citation and hope you're just not willing to fight and just pay it (this is all Coors Light theory by the way) I hope to start working on changing this soon


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