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20 feet behind boat required when surfing?


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We just bought a new Malibu with surfgate, On our 5th time out, my 9 year old son was using the tow rope as he was riding the the wave. When the Lake Mead Park Rangers spotted us, they pulled us over because we need to be towed 20 feet behind the boat. They said it was a $225 dollar ticket, but only gave us a warning. Now my son is worried that we are not going to be able to surf again. I would like to avoid the ticket or being pulled over again, but I think it is impossible since the wave is less than 20 feet behind the boat. Anyone been in this situation and what did you do? Any suggestions would be great. Thanks

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from your post....you should tell the officer you and your son are NOT being towed....well maybe if you are using a rope...but with SG you should be able to go ropeless...so you are not being towed.

Your State boating laws should be on line...information is power!

Edited by DOOFUSisaCAT
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Check the specific wording of the law, I think there is a reason every surf rope is 20 or 25 feet. It might get around the rules a little. Also never argue a ticket, it's a good way to escalate things unintentionally. Just take it to court if you know you are in the right in the future.

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Are there federal boating regs? Lake Mead is a national park/recreation area.

Yes. In this area, the Indiana DNR has responsibility for the inland lakes, but if you are on the Ohio River, It is covered by US Coast Guard rules and they are different.

For example, being towed in IN does not require a life jacket, being towed on the river does.

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And the cops lie all the time(they don't have to know the law to spout what they think the law is). Don't believe them.

Cops can get it wrong just like everyone else and being wrong is not the same thing as lying.
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PA had a 20 ft minimum tow rope law until this year. Now surfing is specifically mentioned in the book along with barefooting. We were given the exact same warning a few years ago and just avoided the rangers for a few years and stopped surfing if they were on our side of the lake. The law has caught up and we can happily surf anytime now.

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