Law/regulation on bow riding

Discussion in 'Sea Ray Lifestyle & Cruising' started by Rafiki, Jul 19, 2015.

  1. Rafiki

    Rafiki New Member

    Aug 22, 2014
    2007 Sundancer 40
    Twin Cummins Diesel
    I live in Washington state with a 2007 40ft Sundancer. Nice big flat sun pad on the bow. Great place to sit. Is it legal to have passengers on the bow when underway?

    On my 23ft Maxum 3yrs ago I got pulled over by police for having a person on bow when moving... at idle speed. So, I want to be sure I know the law for my 40.

    I've been told by friends that if passengers are sitting on the sun pad, not near edge of boat, then it is OK.

    What is the law? I can't find it on-line. Is it different by size of boat? Speed? Age of passengers?

    I wouldn't leave people up there when cruising 20kts, but under 10kts seems ok. Is it legal?
  2. Mike Blake

    Mike Blake Active Member

    Jan 27, 2012
    Yankeetown FL West coast
    89 340 Sundance all Raymarine.
    Gas hogs 454X2.
    It is here in FL I got stopped for it years ago.
  3. src

    src New Member

    Feb 13, 2012
    Richmond, VA
    2000 310 Sundancer
    1997 175BR
    310: Twin 454 Mercruiser w/Bravo III
    175: Mercruiser 3.0
    It may or may not be legal in your jurisdiction. It is, however, dumb in any jurisdiction. 5kts, 10kts, 20kts, it doesn't matter. If someone goes over the front, they are potentially going under the bottom and our boats don't come with anti-lock brakes.
  4. Vince_nj1

    Vince_nj1 Active Member TECHNICAL Contributor

    Aug 25, 2008
    North Barnegat Bay
    2006 320 V-Drives 6.2s, Bow Thruster, Generator, Raymarine C80, Radar, Fish Finder
    6.2 Horizons 320HP
    I believe, but not 100% certain, that it is legal if the boat has a built in seat at the bow that would prevent a passenger from sliding off and slip under the railing. I don't think the sun pad qualify.
  5. gerryb

    gerryb Well-Known Member TECHNICAL Contributor

    Oct 12, 2006
    Somers Point, NJ
    "On Vacation"
    2006 40 Sundancer
    Raymarine E125 & HD Radar + Garmin 5208
    QSB5.9 380 Cummins
    NJ's law below. Question is always whether the rails work to actually prevent you from falling overboard.

    ScreenHunter_34 Jul. 20 10.58.jpg
  6. Bob & Sue

    Bob & Sue Active Member

    Jun 3, 2011
    Browns Point Tacoma WA
    Sold 1999 270DA Sundancer
    5.7l Mercuiser
    I would give the USCG a call here's a link to Puget Sound Sector their great at giving advise or will point you in the right direction. I believe the law is your bow railing is designed to keep people from falling over board but I wouldn't advise it. It could be different from city to city also.
  7. rcknecht

    rcknecht Active Member

    Mar 23, 2009
    toms river,nj
    340 Sundancer 2001
    T 454 MPI
    I have a rule on my boat, that no one rides on the bow other than the no wake zone through the canals leading to my home... I have seen children riding on the bow of boats on plane, and it is very dangerous. As the Captain of your vessel you have to keep you passengers safe...
  8. Big Island Lifer

    Big Island Lifer Active Member

    Feb 1, 2010
    '96 330 Formula SS
    For Sale '85 255 Amberjack
    Single 5.7
    The Minnesota law states that if your legs can slide under the bow rail it is legal. That being said- I don't allow it and I can't stand it when I see it. Our lake has lots of boats every weekend driving around on plane with kids and adults on the bow. They sit with their feet hanging over the bow with their legs split on the bow rail stanchions. It is a disaster waiting to happen.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  9. northshore

    northshore Well-Known Member SILVER Sponsor

    Jan 17, 2011
    Cleveland, OH
    1989 340 Sundancer
    Raymarine E90W Radar/Chartplotter
    Twin 454 Mercruiser 340's
    Stayed at the Crown in Hollywood Florida on vacation back in March. Sits right on the ICW, so I saw many interesting things.

    Brush with greatness: Kareem Abdul Jabbar was checking out just as we were checking in (Damn - dude is tall!)

    Brush with stupidity: Someone riding on the foredeck of a boat, back to the cockpit glass and then damn near get shot off the bow when all of a sudden, the driver was not so certain he would have enough clearance (Clarance) to fit under the bridge he was approaching at around 20 knots.

    She probably slid 10 feet on her rump. It would not surprise me if she got friction burns on her backside.
  10. Gofirstclass

    Gofirstclass Well-Known Member

    Apr 20, 2010
    Tri Cities, WA
    1995 550 Sedan Bridge,
    2010 Boston Whaler 130 Super Sport,
    1981 Boston Whaler 130 Sport,
    CAT 3406C's, 580hp.
    I think Bob nailed it. We've done it, but only at idle speed. In this picture we're just drifting....

  11. src

    src New Member

    Feb 13, 2012
    Richmond, VA
    2000 310 Sundancer
    1997 175BR
    310: Twin 454 Mercruiser w/Bravo III
    175: Mercruiser 3.0
    For me, if the engines are running, everyone is in the cockpit/cabin. The only exception is when I'm having to wrestle with the winch, and the engines are only running because I make sure they are running well before pulling up anchor.
  12. Boater420

    Boater420 Well-Known Member

    Mar 11, 2015
    Clearwater, FL
    '97 330 Sundancer
    Westerbeke 4.5BCG
    Twin Merc 454's
    A few years back, my son was in the Coast Guard stationed in Marathon Key. According to him, the CG has no problem with riding on the bow as long as those sitting are not dangling their legs off the side of the vessel.

    State laws are a totally different animal. Here in Florida anyone on the bow while underway, not sitting in a factory installed seat, can be ticketed for Reckless Operation. Do they enforce the law....hardly. I see it all the time. There are lots of minimum wake zones that stretch for miles around here.

    From what I've gathered by watching, most are sunbathers, laying down on the Sun Pad as described by the OP. As long as they're not hanging off the side of the vessel, law enforcement turns a blind eye. I have also seen some pretty wild parties where people are standing on the bow drinking with the music blasting. This type of activity always brings the local police over for a closer look. Not sure if they got a ticket for bow riding.

  13. Bob & Sue

    Bob & Sue Active Member

    Jun 3, 2011
    Browns Point Tacoma WA
    Sold 1999 270DA Sundancer
    5.7l Mercuiser
    Not sure where you do most of your cruising but even at 10kts if a good size wake like from a container ship (I've had them hit like rogue waves 8' - 10 footers) hits your boat the folks on the sun pads are going to be in for a good jolt. Even in calm waters on Puget Sound rogue waves happen frequently, we were hit by one last Friday near Gig Harbor at idle speed with no warning.
  14. FootballFan

    FootballFan Well-Known Member PLATINUM Sponsor

    Jun 20, 2012
    Marquis 59
    MTU Series 60
    Leaving our marina, we go out a canal, turn into another, then finally a longer run up a third canal, before dumping into a no wake area of the icw.

    I am ok with people on the bow during this section which is 20 minutes or so. Rules are no standing, seated on sunpads. Not sure if it is legal, but I feel it is safe. There is a point I call everyone off the bow. I make sure no wakes, it's not to rockin, we get everyone off the bow.

    No way while underway outside a very controlled environment.

    What I have seen from the boating public:

    Kids on the bow while going out bakerhaulover and government cut inlets. Boaters treating like a thrill ride.

    Put this in perspective, bow on a 30 ft boat different than bow on a 70 ft boat. I see people on 30 ft range boat with 3-4 kids on the bow.

    Today we went out on the tender riding around. Was just inside the bridge coming into ft Meyers, 40ish express cruiser, on plane, probably 25 knots. Could not count the number of people on the bow.

  15. HUMPH

    HUMPH Well-Known Member

    Nov 4, 2009
    2003 410DA,
    2004 C14 Caribe
    CAT 3126TA's 350HP/
    50HP Honda
    The Admiral or I go up there to prepare lines and fenders at idle speed. Other than that she talked me into letting her ride on the pad while running at about 7 knots with a life jacket on. The bay was flat calm and there are handles that I made her grab when we had a wake to cross. Perfectly safe but NEVER at higher speeds like I saw a member here do as they passed a marina... Let it go man, let it go!
  16. FootballFan

    FootballFan Well-Known Member PLATINUM Sponsor

    Jun 20, 2012
    Marquis 59
    MTU Series 60
    A responsible captain will judge safety.

    As it is often the admiral and I alone one the boat, there will be a location I will send her out to prepare lines and fenders if needed.

    At the end of the day, it's about judgement.

    Last edited: Jul 20, 2015
  17. Kijome. Time

    Kijome. Time New Member

    Jul 18, 2015
    Vancouver, WA
    1988 Sea Ray 340 Express Cruiser, Navatronics Depth & Trip Logs. iPad with Marine Navigation App, Ga
    Twin 7.4L Mercruisers with direct drives.
    I too was once boarded by the USCG off of Pt. Loma, CA because my two daughters were on the bow behind the SS Liferails while slowly underway. I wasn't cited, but told they had to be aft of the helm station if moving. I agree that this is the safer thing to do.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-N910A using Tapatalk

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