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No Wake vs. 5 mph Buoy and BAD Encounter w/ Sheriff

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  • No Wake vs. 5 mph Buoy and BAD Encounter w/ Sheriff

    Hi everyone,

    I got pulled over last night by a less than pleasant cop and was told that I was "Speeding in a no-wake zone." I didnt really get anywhere with the officer, but did end up with a few fresh scratches on my boat courtesy of his lack of courtesy.

    1. What is the difference between a no wake and a 5 mph bouy and is a 5 mph bouy a "public Buoy"? I called the coast guard after the incident. The Coast Guard was extremely helpful in explaining that the 5 mph buoys in the area are private and are only enforceable by local police (not USCG) and that the incident in question likely involved "speeding" vs. a no wake violation. They also indicated that the 5 mph buoys at the location in question were not part of the navigable channel I was going through (with offiical red/green bouys). The officer wrote "X" on the box for citation, but no violation was written...only the vessel inspection report. I have no idea if I actually got a ticket or not...

    2. I've been pulled over multiple times by USCG and local law enforcement in my several years of boating. I've always been met with the highest level of professionalism and courtesy and never received a citation. Every single previous encounter with law enforcement on the water has ended with a handshake and a "thanks for being a safe boater." Last night, I asked the officer three times to drop his front buoy, which he refused to do. When I tried to throw my side buoy, he told me to stop. I now have a few nice scratches on the side of my hull and a bent rail stanchion (that I just fixed). Has anyone been in this situation before? What did you do to resolve it, both on the water and after the fact? In addition to aesthetics, I had a concern with safety as the officer had his foot hanging over his boat during part of the encounter and the situation could have become a safety issue...real fast. I called the supervisor and will be requesting reimbursement for the damage caused. I was also able to snap a photo. The level of unprofessionalism in this entire situation was unprecedented.

    I'd like to solicit the opinions of the experts on this site as I look for education on these items and what to do in these types of situations. The officer untied me and pushed away when I grabbed my radio and threatened to radio USCG on Channel 16. Any advice is greatly appreciated.

  • #2
    Re: No Wake vs. 5 mph Buoy and BAD Encounter w/ Sheriff

    How fast were you going? Is it really a no wake/5 MPH zone or is it just posted as such?

    I would file a report about the damage and then contact my insurance company to go after the police department. Not sure how well that will go though...

    Good luck!

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    • #3
      Re: No Wake vs. 5 mph Buoy and BAD Encounter w/ Sheriff

      Did he have you on radar if not then their is no proof of speeding, and right off hand it sounds like a BS excuse just to pull you over. And yes I would file a clam for damages. and talk to your local magistrate to see if the ticket needs to be dealt with.

      I may be wrong on this but it is my understanding that in a no wake area it as slow as you can go and retain boat handling not to exceed 5 mph
      Bad Dog

      If it aint broke your not having enough fun

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      • #4
        Re: No Wake vs. 5 mph Buoy and BAD Encounter w/ Sheriff

        Originally posted by MH Hawker View Post
        I may be wrong on this but it is my understanding that in a no wake area it as slow as you can go and retain boat handling not to exceed 5 mph
        I hope someone chimes in who knows the law on this. I've been yelled at (but not stopped) for allegedly going too fast in a no-wake zone. I was idling (at 800 rpm), my boat doesn't make any wake at that speed, and I MIGHT have been going 6 or 7 mph (just a guess because my speedometer doesn't register anything going that slow).

        In any case Begester, I'm glad to hear that you've been in contact with this officer's supervisor. That's a job that a few people just aren't cut out for, and it sounds like you found one of those individuals. I'll be interested to hear how this turns out for you.
        Checkmate Rebuild: https://forums.iboats.com/forum/boat-...eckmate-eluder

        “Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.'”

        ― Isaac Asimov

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        • #5
          Re: No Wake vs. 5 mph Buoy and BAD Encounter w/ Sheriff

          The definition of no wake varies by state. In NH, it's called "headway speed" and is defined as up to 6 MPH or the slowest the boat will go and maintain steerage. If you are at idle speed and exceeding 6 MPH in NH, you are not breaking the law.

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          • #6
            Re: No Wake vs. 5 mph Buoy and BAD Encounter w/ Sheriff

            Mi law is slowest it will go and still able to control. It's my opinion that it's way below 5-6 MPH. I got the same deal 10 years ago and stopped trying to go any faster than idle. Doesnt sound like you received a ticket, but I am not there to read it either. Too bad about his disregard for safty and your personal property.

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            • #7
              Re: No Wake vs. 5 mph Buoy and BAD Encounter w/ Sheriff

              My boat has a ton of sail, and not a lot of draft. If I've got a cross wind, I need a little more speed to be able to counter wind gusts and maintain heading. With that said, I've never been bothered for anything speed/wake related. Only time I've been boarded was when I had 21 guests on board with me (calculated max is like, 22.5), and with the view from the police boat, not a PFD in sight. I was legal though.

              Anyway, sounds like you handled it about as well as you could. Hope it works out for you.

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              • #8
                Re: No Wake vs. 5 mph Buoy and BAD Encounter w/ Sheriff

                Put in a GPS greenbush, you may be surprised- Our Chaparral idles at 5.6 - 5.8 mph on my GPS.

                In contrast, our SkipperLiner's cruise speed is 6.8 - 7.2 mph at 2500 rpm.

                And here's its wake at WOT, a blazing 9.8 mph...



                ============

                And most PWC's at 6 mph makes a bigger wake than most boats--

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                • #9
                  Re: No Wake vs. 5 mph Buoy and BAD Encounter w/ Sheriff

                  I am running a 20 foot pontoon and at 2800 rpm I am at 5 on GPS and no woke so I keep it at 2000 or so in those areas. But I just have a 15 hp on the back.
                  Bad Dog

                  If it aint broke your not having enough fun

                  my 1988 Riviera Cruzer pontoon rebuild
                  https://forums.iboats.com/showthread.php?t=526820

                  my pontoon trailer rebuild

                  https://forums.iboats.com/forum/boat-...railer-rebuild

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                  • #10
                    Re: No Wake vs. 5 mph Buoy and BAD Encounter w/ Sheriff

                    Years ago on lake champlain in vt I got a written warning for making wake in a no wake zone. think it varies state to state. look in your boating handbook or call motor vehicle.
                    1986 SC170 Sea Nymph Fishtracker. 1997 70hp (ETLEUM) Evinrude

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                    • #11
                      Re: No Wake vs. 5 mph Buoy and BAD Encounter w/ Sheriff

                      I would have told the cop to shove it if he told me not to throw out a fender to protect my boat. I also would have probably started the phone video and brought it out if needed (when he started being a jerk) to ensure that I was receiving proper conduct from him. The damage would certainly be addressed with my insurance and with his department. You shouldn't be rude to a LEO, but you don't have to accept them abusing their power, either.
                      1976 Mark Twain 200VBR w/Mercruiser 233 (Ford 351w) "Heart & Soul"

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                      • #12
                        Re: No Wake vs. 5 mph Buoy and BAD Encounter w/ Sheriff

                        No GPS on my old 21 with a v-8, but I wasn't at idle either when he pulled me over, I received a warning. I think just "in forward" my boat did about 4 mph and there was no wake. I actually was in the wrong when I was checked, but not by much.

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                        • #13
                          Re: No Wake vs. 5 mph Buoy and BAD Encounter w/ Sheriff

                          No reason for the officer to act like a jack *****, nor cause damage to your property. So, you are correct in escalating this to the supervisor and filing for damages to your boat.

                          i would suspect that the officer in question may be getting a different assignment in the future.
                          Best regards, Ted . . . . Cape Cod, MA

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                          • #14
                            Re: No Wake vs. 5 mph Buoy and BAD Encounter w/ Sheriff

                            Originally posted by haulnazz15 View Post
                            I would have told the cop to shove it if he told me not to throw out a fender to protect my boat. I also would have probably started the phone video and brought it out if needed (when he started being a jerk) to ensure that I was receiving proper conduct from him. The damage would certainly be addressed with my insurance and with his department. You shouldn't be rude to a LEO, but you don't have to accept them abusing their power, either.
                            +1000

                            I am a huge supporter of LEO's, but the bad ones make it harder on everyone, especially the rest of them.
                            Torque gets you there. Horsepower gets you there in time for dinner.

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                            • #15
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                              Re: No Wake vs. 5 mph Buoy and BAD Encounter w/ Sheriff

                              Thanks for the responses guys. I just talked to the supervisor and lodged a formal complaint seeking the damages and let him know that the officer put myself and crew in jeopardy. He's going to meet me at 10:00am tomorrow at the boat.

                              Not exactly sure how fast I was going, faster than no-wake speed but not on plane.

                              Its interesting that you can boat somewhere for years and never know "where you are" in terms of wake/no-wake zone.

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