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New York laws for boat operators

It may seem as if the wide-open spaces of New York waterways would lessen the risk of a collision or other accident. The vulnerability of boating passengers out on the water can turn even a small incident into a major catastrophe, though. New York has instated laws that should guide the actions of any boat operator.

Boat Ed. Points out that just like on land, speeding in the water is unsafe. Even when there are not posted speed limits, boaters should be aware of how fast is too fast for the current conditions. For example, in a congested area, a driver could be cited for reckless operation if the boat is moving at a high speed. When a boat is within 100 feet of a dock, raft, pier, float, anchored or moored vessel, or the shore, the speed limit is always five miles per hour.

According to the New York State Boater’s Guide, reckless operation also includes driving too closely to another boat, or driving between boats during a regatta or a marine parade. Boaters should also avoid areas where there are swimmers or divers.

Onboard, operators are responsible for keeping the number of passengers to below the capacity limit, and preventing them from sitting on the transom, gunwale or bow while the boat is in motion. The legal limit for intoxication of 0.08 percent blood alcohol content applies to boaters, as well.

To ensure that boaters follow these and other safety regulations, local law enforcement, State Park Police, New York Police and the U.S. Coast Guard may issue citations, which may involve a violation or a misdemeanor, depending on the infraction.

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