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Wakesurfing illegal in Indiana


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So I got out for the 3rd time this year last Saturday on Memorial weekend. I was in the middle of my set when the Conservation Officer pulled us over. He said that wakesurfing is illegal in Indiana. After being told we were only getting a written warning, I began to ask a few more questions. In itself, surfing is not illegal. The activity falls under the dangerous and reckless boating laws for 2 reasons. First, the proximity to the boat is too close. Second, the risk of Carbon Monoxide poisoning is too great. I tried to clarify the difference between this and Teak Surfing, but he disagreed. I also discussed FAE with him and he stated that does not help with the proximity to the boat. The problem is that the law is subjective & a C/O has a lot of power.

So I followed up today with a call to the Law Enforcement section of the DNR in Indy today. The man I spoke with said "I think I would have liked doing that a few years ago." Then he couldn't think of a law that said it was illegal, but he spoke with Felix Hensley (sp?) who is their legal expert and he agreed it could fall under the dangerous or reckless behavior - sounds like it is all an interpretation issue. Apparently, someone died last year while lying on the sun deck or the swim platform of CO inhilation (passed out, fell in the water, and could not be revived). Now it is becoming a "Big Brother" issue.

I will be calling the local DNR for additional follow up on how it is going to be treated in my area. There are 4 officers that operate the lakes in my area. Hopefully, we can agree that the proximity to the boat is not an issue as long as it is an inboard or V-Drive. Then it is just a matter of overcoming the CO issue. At least there are options for that (FAE, side exhaust, etc.). I'll make another post when I find out more information.

So for now, I am just going to call May 29, 2010 Black Saturday :(

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There was a C/O on Lake Max all weekend and he said nothing to the many boats that were surfing as far as I know. He didn't come up to us, that's for sure. Maybe it's just one guy with a grudge for surfers or something. I hope he stays away from us. If he wants to ticket people, he'll be spending an awful lot of time given the number of boats that surf on our lake. Keep us posted if you hear anything.

John

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Well I think you are approaching this the right way. Maybe you could even get some documentation from them stating something along the lines of, wakesurfing behind a boat with an inboard engine and no outdrive motor does not fall under dangerous or reckless behavior. Keep us updated as you learn more as I am sure some people may run into this problem at their local watering holes at some point.

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Keep us updated as you learn more as I am sure some people may run into this problem at their local watering holes at some point.

Or already have.....

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You've got to be kidding. I've been researching which board to buy and someone out there is saying that wakesurfing is illegal is Indiana! I'm up on Crooked Lake in Angola, In and have seen a few wakesurfing. I know that our local shop, "Ride the Wave" carries several boards. I'll check with them tomorrow and see what they say. I know that you are not too far far Bart's, I wonder if they have heard anything about this. I'll check with them as well. Hopefully we can get to the bottom of this before I put my order in.

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The death referred to above was a young girl riding near / on the back of a runabout, passed out from CO, and fel into the water.

Very unfortunate accident, and if you were in northern Indiana the drowning impacted a lot of people, because it was a young child.

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I agree that you are going about it the correct way also. My wife would be very disappointed if it was banned in Michigan.

I'm sorry for a slight hijack. The death is incredibly sad. Does anyone have anymore info on the type of boat? Was it something older that may not have had the cleanest burning engine?

I've been considering limiting my boat search only to a newer Monsoon with the "cat's" in order to minimize CO. My kids love to ride in the back seat and watch people surf. This might clinch it for me.

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I've been considering limiting my boat search only to a newer Monsoon with the "cat's" in order to minimize CO. My kids love to ride in the back seat and watch people surf. This might clinch it for me.

The best bet it to always play it safe regardless of which engine you choose. When we ride we MAKE anyone riding in the back wear life jackets.

In regards to the Indiana law that is a bummer. I definitely think you are going about it the right way. In the mean time, if you want to surf I would recommend driving by the public launch first to see it the C/O's truck is there. If not, ride on!

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That sucks. I've heard the same abotu lake powell. I just got to the point where I can ride without a rope, would hate to have it taken away lol

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I made some calls today to a couple of local ski shops here in Indiana. Barts wasn't totally sure but thought it was totally legal. My local shop strongly said that it was legal and the the CO didn't know what he was saying. Afterwards I called the DNR office in Columbia City, IN and talked with a lady. She went off and talked with Officer Clear and he told her that it was legal in Indiana. He is located in the District 2 office. I hope this put to rest that concern. I cannot tell you what to do next time he pulls you over but I was told by the local ski shop to fight it. Good luck but I need to order my new Squirt!

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I made some calls today to a couple of local ski shops here in Indiana. Barts wasn't totally sure but thought it was totally legal. My local shop strongly said that it was legal and the the CO didn't know what he was saying. Afterwards I called the DNR office in Columbia City, IN and talked with a lady. She went off and talked with Officer Clear and he told her that it was legal in Indiana. He is located in the District 2 office. I hope this put to rest that concern. I cannot tell you what to do next time he pulls you over but I was told by the local ski shop to fight it. Good luck but I need to order my new Squirt!

I spke with the Law Enforcement division of the DNR in Indy Tuesday. The information I received from Felix Hensley is that surfing specifically is not banned, but it could fall under "Dangerous" and "Reckless" boating laws. He advised I contact the local supervisor, John Sullivan on the SE side of Lake Wawassee. Hopefully, I can fit that in my schedule today or tomorrow at the latest.

This appears to fall under pretty subjective laws. I'll post when I have more info.

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Similar issues in PA....

http://www.themalibucrew.com/forums/index.php?/topic/21916-pulled-over-for-surfing/page__p__321054__fromsearch__1entry321054

Some of the CO's on our lake don't care at all, but others will pull you over and issue citations. Here's our solution, while surfing, one person on board is on "patrol watch". If the patrol boat is sited, kill the boat, throw out the wakeboard rope and switch to wakeboarding until the fuzz heads to the other end of the lake. If it looks like they are just passing by we just wave, and float around until they are out of site........the.....surf on. Rockon.gif

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Here is another thing to remember in Pa the Gov cut special interest funding ie. the Fish and Game commission. So they have to fend for themselfs, that means tickets for us for them to survive. I had a so called safety inspection at a local lake last week (was over my stereo) but the game warden was cool. He told me that they were going to crack down on the noise levels that we can put out.

The issue with the surf boarding I just can't figure out. I can not find anything that says anything about the distance you need to be behind the boat. They wright you up for being to Close to the boat what about the barefoot booms?

The noise level that they want to crack down on and the surf board thing is there own personal pet peeves. They do not have decimal meters so how can they tell how loud we are. Plus there is a conflict of interest weather they can even issue a disturbing fine. They are not police.

Like said before just watch out for them.

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Here is another thing to remember in Pa the Gov cut special interest funding ie. the Fish and Game commission. So they have to fend for themselfs, that means tickets for us for them to survive. I had a so called safety inspection at a local lake last week (was over my stereo) but the game warden was cool. He told me that they were going to crack down on the noise levels that we can put out.

The issue with the surf boarding I just can't figure out. I can not find anything that says anything about the distance you need to be behind the boat. They wright you up for being to Close to the boat what about the barefoot booms?

The noise level that they want to crack down on and the surf board thing is there own personal pet peeves. They do not have decimal meters so how can they tell how loud we are. Plus there is a conflict of interest weather they can even issue a disturbing fine. They are not police.

Like said before just watch out for them.

PA it's not so much distance from the boat, but the 20 foot minimum rope length law. Also, once you let go of the rope PA has the boat must be 100 feet form a "swimmer". It really depends on the CO that is on the lake. If they want to throw the book at you, well.....duck! That's why we just avoid surfing when they are near.

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I have a little more info. I was told we are lucky enough to be the first boat in the state pulled over for wake surfing (I new I should have just gotten a white boat!). They are actually reviewing the laws and advised they will get back with us this week after they determine the manner in whihc this will be handled consistently within the state. The DNR did confirm that the carbon monoxide is not a concern for this sport and that they are only investigating the proximity to the boat while being pulled & while surfing.

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We have a few Wake Surfers on our Lake in Monticello, IN. However, I have never seen or heard of any of them ever getting pulled over or ticketed. Our lake is patrolled by both the C.O. and Sheriff especially on the weekends. If it were up to me I'd make bass boats and PWC's illegal on our lake...I hate those things! :mad:

Wawassee is a beautiful lake by the way. Largest natural lake in Indiana.

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We ran into this back in 2004-2005 at Ray Roberts lake near Denton, TX.

Turns out it was just one particular deputy that skewed the "dangerous" laws to fit him.

Never held up and he soon saw the light and put his efforts on the PWC crowd.

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The FAE study and this: http://www.uscgboating.org/assets/1/Publications/CO_SafeDistanceReport.pdf are your friends. They have repeatedly shown that CO emissions are safe at a short height above the exhaust.

I had heard while living in WA that they had outlawed wake surfing, but I didn't own a boat there. Since then I have seen several videos of people surfing in WA.

I asked a boat rep about it at the boat show two years ago and he said he is a member of a boating industry group, that WA does indeed ban wake surfing (not just teak surfing) and they are fighting laws in several states to make is illegal elsewhere.

Personally, I would print out the page of the Coast Guard study showing the danger zone and show it to any CO that gives you a problem. Hopefully you don't have to take it to court, but if so the facts are on your side.

Keep wake surfing legal!

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We have a few Wake Surfers on our Lake in Monticello, IN. However, I have never seen or heard of any of them ever getting pulled over or ticketed. Our lake is patrolled by both the C.O. and Sheriff especially on the weekends. If it were up to me I'd make bass boats and PWC's illegal on our lake...I hate those things! :mad:

Wawassee is a beautiful lake by the way. Largest natural lake in Indiana.

I'll second the ban on PWC's!!

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The FAE study and this: http://www.uscgboating.org/assets/1/Publications/CO_SafeDistanceReport.pdf are your friends. They have repeatedly shown that CO emissions are safe at a short height above the exhaust.

I had heard while living in WA that they had outlawed wake surfing, but I didn't own a boat there. Since then I have seen several videos of people surfing in WA.

I asked a boat rep about it at the boat show two years ago and he said he is a member of a boating industry group, that WA does indeed ban wake surfing (not just teak surfing) and they are fighting laws in several states to make is illegal elsewhere.

Personally, I would print out the page of the Coast Guard study showing the danger zone and show it to any CO that gives you a problem. Hopefully you don't have to take it to court, but if so the facts are on your side.

Keep wake surfing legal!

Based on the study, would you agree that the most dangerous place, is the back seat of your boat? And of course, I'd be even more nervous about young children. In the quick scan of the study, I didn't see anywhere in where they quoted "safe" levels. A brief google search led me to believe that CO alarms are triggered at somewhere above 40-70 PPM. I believe the study had an average CO of 140 ppm at the rear seat, at 7.5 mph in an older carbureted Correct Craft. I'd hope that newer, FI motors would be much less, and the cats on the Monsoon take care of the issue.

Please don't get me wrong. I'm not trying to be an alarmist who's against wake surfing. Just an overprotective dad, that doesn't have to worry about the kids when they are watching my wife and I ride the wave.

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I think the officer has a valid point. Wakesurfing is clearly reckless and dangerous. That's why you see all those wakesurfers with knee braces, busted ankles, concussions from doing inverts 10 feet in the air at 23 mph, busted ear drums and torn shoulders. Clearly a dangerous sport that should be banned. . . . What, that's not wakesurfing? That's another sport??? Oh. OK. Well, then never mind.

So Wakesurfing is that one that you do in the ocean generally without a life vest with jelly fish, sharks, coral reefs, rip tides and unpredictable waves. Yah. That one is clearly dangerous and reckless. Ban it. Ban it now. That's not it either??

So wakesurfing is the one where you get on a rubber tire, tied to a boat, and the boat driver tries his best to whip you around, flip the tube and intentionally throw you off at high speeds. Definitely dangerous. And reckless too. I have been trying to get that banned for years, but never thought of the "danger" angle. What? That's not it either?

You mean it's the sport that you do at roughly 10 mph with a board with no boots so that when you fall, you sink into the water at speeds almost a third as fast as if you jumped off a stationary boat? The sport that we had an 8 year old (who was too chicken to jump off the side of the boat) successfully learn to do this last weekend? Oh yes, the officer was right, that sport is truly dangerous! You could run into the back of the boat, and at a relative closing speed not much different than you would get if you slipped on a swim platform on a stationary boat. Oh the mortal danger of it all. This wakesurfing thing is REALLY reckless and dangerous, particularly when compared with other water sports. Outboards and I/O's with exposed props right below the swim platform, well those are safe. But this wakesurfing thing is insane dangerous. And reckless. I mean who would argue that people should be allowed to do anything that involves any risk of injury. Where is the government to intercede and stop us all from freaking killing ourselves?

By the way Zornman, I am going to be on Lake Tippy in a couple weeks just before July 4th looking for some opportunities to put my life in mortal danger at 10 mph. If I get time, I will try before then to get in touch with a couple of the manufacturers of wakesurf boards, and see if they were able to pull any stats on wakesurfing injuries in order to buy their products liability insurance. I am sure that the real statistics (if there are any) will show just how "dangerous and reckless" this wakesurfing sport really is. Rob

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We have a few Wake Surfers on our Lake in Monticello, IN. However, I have never seen or heard of any of them ever getting pulled over or ticketed. Our lake is patrolled by both the C.O. and Sheriff especially on the weekends. If it were up to me I'd make bass boats and PWC's illegal on our lake...I hate those things! :mad:

Wawassee is a beautiful lake by the way. Largest natural lake in Indiana.

Hey areamike, are you on freeman or shaffer? We usually hit up freeman every saturday. Mostly hangout at the sandbar, its too friggin rough and busy to do much else. Its funny late last year we were surfin all ballasted up and i was swinging around to pick up the rider and here comes the CO, I thought here we go. But he was like "are you guys ok, it looks like you are taking on alot of water". I kinda laughed at told him about leaning the boat makes the wave better. He just smiled at went on about his way, I thought for sure he was going to ask me how much weight was in there, but he must not have been too worried about it.

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Hey areamike, are you on freeman or shaffer? We usually hit up freeman every saturday. Mostly hangout at the sandbar, its too friggin rough and busy to do much else. Its funny late last year we were surfin all ballasted up and i was swinging around to pick up the rider and here comes the CO, I thought here we go. But he was like "are you guys ok, it looks like you are taking on alot of water". I kinda laughed at told him about leaning the boat makes the wave better. He just smiled at went on about his way, I thought for sure he was going to ask me how much weight was in there, but he must not have been too worried about it.

Lake Freeman. If you are heading to the Sandbar we are just before the Madam Carroll on the right side where it is shallow and there are a lot of docks. Look for the buoys and the Basketball goal. That's us.

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