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Roush611

Sitting on Engine Cover of DD While Underway

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Roush611

Please help with a discussion I am having with a buddy. I say it is illegal to sit on the Engine cover of a DD boat at any speeds greater than idle. He states that law only applies to boats with the "sundeck" in the back such as our v-drives or I/Os. 

I cant seem to find the law anywhere but I know my parents were pulled over a long time ago for letting someone lay on it while underway. 

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bbattiste247

We don't allow anyone to sit on the engine covers while moving because we are under the impression that it is illegal. Weather it is illegal or not, it is likely they will pull you over for it and maybe try to find something else. I don't know for sure, but I think it is illegal and even if someone swears it is not, I still won't allow people to sit up there while moving. Not because it's unsafe, but because I don't want to get pulled over. 

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tvano

sadly, i doubt it makes any difference.  if that officer wants to write a ticket for it then it's illegal and likely to cost you (either the fine or a days pay to fight it).

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powbmps

I would imagine it varies from state to state??

The only mention of something similar, regarding "Unlawful Operation", in the NH Handbook says:

"Riding on the Bow, Gunwales or Transom is allowing passengers to ride on a power-driven vessel in places where there may be a chance of falling overboard while underway.  This includes passengers straddling the bow or riding on the gunwales or transom."

It would be pretty hard to fall overboard from the engine cover, but by leaving it out, I suppose they could still give you a ticket.

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MadMan

Don't know if it is legal or not, but I personally know some people that were sitting on the seat backs when they hit something submerged.  3 flew out of the boat, 1 girl got her leg cut off by the prop at the knee.

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onamission

Right from the Michigan Handbook of boating laws and responsibilities chapter 6 on the water. 

https://www.boat-ed.com/michigan/handbook/page/36/Chapter-6-On-the-Water/

Riding on the Bow, Gunwales, or Transom is allowing passengers to ride on a motorboat in places where there may be a chance of falling overboard. While operating greater than “slow, no wake speed,” persons on a motorboat may not sit, stand, or walk on any portion of a motorboat not designed for that purpose. This includes riding on the gunwale.

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Sixball
1 hour ago, onamission said:

Right from the Michigan Handbook of boating laws and responsibilities chapter 6 on the water. 

https://www.boat-ed.com/michigan/handbook/page/36/Chapter-6-On-the-Water/

Riding on the Bow, Gunwales, or Transom is allowing passengers to ride on a motorboat in places where there may be a chance of falling overboard. While operating greater than “slow, no wake speed,” persons on a motorboat may not sit, stand, or walk on any portion of a motorboat not designed for that purpose. This includes riding on the gunwale.

So you just saved me from posting that.  I have never seen anyone ticketed but yes stopped and told the law and asked to take a legal seat.  If the dog house had a seat in it then it would be OK.  Some pontoons have seats in front beyond the railing and those would be illegal even as a designed seat. Outside of the boundary of the seating designed for travailing.  

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MLA
3 hours ago, onamission said:

While operating greater than “slow, no wake speed,” persons on a motorboat may not sit, stand, or walk on any portion of a motorboat not designed for that purpose.

So of the gunwale has traction pad, then its meant for walking on, right? So its legal to stand on the gunwale while above no-wake.............This also makes it legal to sit on the transom seats lik eon larger run-abouts and some MC? 

 

Just playing devils advocate with the laws wording. 

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martinarcher

It get used as a rear facing lounge seat on our boat when surfing all the time.  We've never been bothered.

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electricjohn

I sit there a lot when not driving and no skiers.

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mikeo
20 hours ago, Roush611 said:

Please help with a discussion I am having with a buddy. I say it is illegal to sit on the Engine cover of a DD boat at any speeds greater than idle. He states that law only applies to boats with the "sundeck" in the back such as our v-drives or I/Os. 

I cant seem to find the law anywhere but I know my parents were pulled over a long time ago for letting someone lay on it while underway. 

I've been pulled over by the water cops in your area (I've posted on it before too) and the short version is what's been stated before: they'll use almost anything as an excuse to pull you over and then look for a more major offence to site you for. The only real answer is two-fold: 1. don't do it and you won't risk getting pulled over and 2. ask a water cop when you see them at a dock and have them show you in their "book of laws/codes" what the specific violation would be if someone was sitting on the engine cover.

As long as there isn't something else going on the water cops might actually appreciate you asking them since (as I've been told) there isn't a quota for citations, but a quota for civilian contacts. You taking the time to ask them a question fulfills a civilian contact and it means they don't need to pull someone over later in the day.

No matter what, I'm sure they could get you for a reckless endangerment citation if you had someone on the engine cover while underway no matter how slow you're going; that one is always open to interpretation and it's your word against theirs.

Edited by mikeo
clarity

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The Hulk

Water Sheriff did a VIN check on my boat and she gripped about those who do it and said the fishing seats on pontoons are her biggest issue or people in front of the rail.. she will normally give a ticket to anyone in front of the rail even if at idle speed. She said even if a child fell over at idle speed the driver can not stop in time and would try to reverse quickly making things worse instead if cutting power. Apparently she had just ticketed someone so I was not about to ask the obvious. Although I did ask about night surfing in IN. Long story short "if" your under 10mph there are not rules but they will haggle u hard and try to find something like reckless operation, booz, loud music, non proper fitting life jackets etc etc.. as I've heard from several Sheriff and DNR .. wreckers operation tickets are an easy way for them to get around the book because its at their discretion..your word against theirs so u will never win. 

Luckily on our lake we have two water Sheriffs which have a motto of "educate" and ticket blatant idiots.. while the DNRs attitude always seems to be ticket anything and everything. 

I do like it though when the Sherrif nabs those jet skies that are way to close. I don't have an issue with jetskies jumping my wake.. have at it.. but stay the required few hundred feet back. 

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Steve B.

Years ago as a water cop was idling beside us and me on the engine cover he said all persons must be seated while underway. Ohio. Not sure if it's the law though. No ticket or anything, he was just looking out for our welfare.

I like sitting on it too, it's kinda warm.

Steve B.

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itznowonder

From the TN boater handbook:

Falling Overboard

To prevent persons from falling overboard:

Don’t sit on the gunwale, bow, seat backs, motor cover,

or any other area not designed for seating.

 

The NC handbook doesn't seem to cover this topic...

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crashleroux

We were warned by the fishcops on Lake Powell last year with a guy sitting on the pad/deck.  We were told no passenger outside of the seating area even with a life jacket, their reasoning is exhaust fumes!

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Joeprunc

Yes the cops in Disco Bay will use any excuse to make sure that the boats and drivers are safe.  I have the same rule in my boat, if the boat is under way all butts must be below the gunwale.  Most DD boxes are above or right at the gunwale.  I've had a neighbor pulled over for having someone laying on the motor box while in 5 mph water.  Its up to the officers judgement, and maybe its an excuse to talk with the boat driver.  

To me its not worth being pulled over, this is why it is a rule on my boat.

from here: http://www.dbw.ca.gov/pubs/abc/Operational_Law.pdf

Reckless or Negligent Operation of a Vessel

No person shall operate any vessel or manipulate any water skis, aquaplane or similar device in a reckless or negligent manner so as to endanger the life, limb or property of any person. Examples of such operation include, but are not limited to:

  •  Riding on the bow, gunwale or transom of a vessel under way, propelled by machinery, when such position is not protected by railing or other reasonable deterrent to falling overboard or riding in a position or manner that is obviously dangerous. These provisions shall not apply to a vessel’s crew in the act of anchoring, mooring or making fast to a dock or another vessel, or in the necessary management of a sail.
  •  Maneuvering towed skiers or devices so as to pass the towline over another vessel or its skier.
  •  Navigating a vessel, skis or other devices between a towing vessel and its tow or tows.
  • Operating under the influence of intoxicants or narcotics. Other actions such as speeding in confined or restricted areas, “buzzing” or “wetting down” others, or skiing at prohibited times or in restricted areas can also be considered reckless or negligent operations

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Falko

My dog sits up there all the time. The only objections I've heard is from those behind him who get slobbered and furred. I will quite often sit on mine and drive with my feet through no wake zones. More or less so I can pet the dog.

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