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No Wake Zone Law Question

Old 05-20-2020, 07:56 PM
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Default No Wake Zone Law Question

I always thought that the no wake zone law was operated like a school zone. Basically, a person could haul ass up until the sign. Over the weekend, I was told differently, that by hauling ass up until you reach the sign still violates the law because you are bringing all that wake into the zone from behind you. I am perfectly OK with adhering to this but I don't see anywhere in the City of Tampa law that states this.

Here is the law in Tampa for "No Wake Zone'"

Idle speed-no-wake means a vessel must be operated at a speed no greater than that which is necessary to maintain steerage and headway.

Idle speed-no-wake zone means a restricted or controlled boating zone in which a watercraft or vessel must not proceed at any speed greater than that which is necessary to maintain steerageway. A watercraft or vessel that is operating on a plane is not proceeding at idle speed-no-wake.

https://library.municode.com/fl/tamp...DOWA_S14-196DE
I am curious to hear your expert thoughts and experiences on the water with this.






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05-20-2020, 08:55 PM
rambo486
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I'm a lawyer in CA, not Florida. But, I'd defend you and argue that the plain language of the legislature is what governs. If they wanted the bo wake zone to extend out further, they would have.

Where does it stop? A yacht a 1,000 yards away might make a wake that travels into the no wake zone. Is he at fault? He probably can't even see the sign. Sure you may be a jerk, just like you are a jerk if you speed right up to the sign and somehow slowdown right when you past, but being a jerk isn't illegal.

Full disclosure, I do not do criminal law. I do construction law.
Old 05-20-2020, 08:06 PM
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This is what I remember learning and what I adhere to.

The No Wake Zone starts 200 feet from the marker
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Old 05-20-2020, 08:27 PM
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You’re responsible for your wake at all times. Use the buoy and your head to decide when to slow down.

Any wake past that marker is a guaranteed ticket from law enforcement.

Last edited by Misterfu02; 05-20-2020 at 08:33 PM.
Old 05-20-2020, 08:32 PM
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You come to Tennessee and do that, you’ll catch a hefty ticket. No Wake begins at the sign so you better be at no wake when you cross it. Kinda like going from 65 mph to a 45 mph. You don’t have 1/4 mile to slow down to 45 after you cross the sign.
Old 05-20-2020, 08:36 PM
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If your wake goes past sign, then you are in the wrong. Does not matter when you slowed down.

Has anyone explained the "left lane for passing" sign for you?
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Old 05-20-2020, 08:49 PM
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I am not sure how a ticket would hold up in a court of law. The law is not clear in this regard. If i was at idle speed as I crossed the line, then I would be in adherence with the law.
Old 05-20-2020, 08:51 PM
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I take it as no wake going into sign BUT certain situations call for headway speed and that can cause a wake. The last bridge before my marina is known for current ripping. I was under just in gear last weekend against outgoing tide and was not moving...that’s more danger than throwing a little wake, I had to get to about 1300rpms which caused bow to rise to get through safe even though it threw a wake. If I were to get stopped I’d have that conversation and accept a fine if they gave it to me but I’ll take a ticket for no wake over getting pinned under a bridge or against a bridge any day. My order of compliance is signage, then steerage/safety. All depends on situation, laws, common sense. Unlike a car there’s a lot more variables so a lot more that goes into it. But bombing into a no wake or through it isn’t ok or safe or acceptable in any manner
Old 05-20-2020, 08:53 PM
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Originally Posted by SSnow View Post
You come to Tennessee and do that, you’ll catch a hefty ticket. No Wake begins at the sign so you better be at no wake when you cross it. Kinda like going from 65 mph to a 45 mph. You don’t have 1/4 mile to slow down to 45 after you cross the sign.
In this analogy, I would be @ 45 MPH as i crossed the line.
Old 05-20-2020, 08:55 PM
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I'm a lawyer in CA, not Florida. But, I'd defend you and argue that the plain language of the legislature is what governs. If they wanted the bo wake zone to extend out further, they would have.

Where does it stop? A yacht a 1,000 yards away might make a wake that travels into the no wake zone. Is he at fault? He probably can't even see the sign. Sure you may be a jerk, just like you are a jerk if you speed right up to the sign and somehow slowdown right when you past, but being a jerk isn't illegal.

Full disclosure, I do not do criminal law. I do construction law.
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Old 05-20-2020, 08:59 PM
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Originally Posted by rambo486 View Post
I'm a lawyer in CA, not Florida. But, I'd defend you and argue that the plain language of the legislature is what governs. If they wanted the bo wake zone to extend out further, they would have.

Where does it stop? A yacht a 1,000 yards away might make a wake that travels into the no wake zone. Is he at fault? He probably can't even see the sign. Sure you may be a jerk, just like you are a jerk if you speed right up to the sign and somehow slowdown right when you past, but being a jerk isn't illegal.

Full disclosure, I do not do criminal law. I do construction law.
Thank you Rambo for seeing the flaw in this law the way it is written, I am no attorney either but I would fight that ticket all day just to prove a point even though it would likely cost more than the ticket.
Old 05-20-2020, 09:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Jeepman View Post
If your wake goes past sign, then you are in the wrong. Does not matter when you slowed down.

Has anyone explained the "left lane for passing" sign for you?
Perhaps I would be in the wrong but it would not be against the law.
Old 05-20-2020, 09:13 PM
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Originally Posted by nm4568 View Post
Perhaps I would be in the wrong but it would not be against the law.
no, you would be breaking the law. No wake means no wake, period. Boat ramp no wakes are best example, if you run up to sign then slow down and your wake hits a loading boat. Not only will you be responsible for the damage, but will also get a ticket.
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Old 05-20-2020, 09:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Jeepman View Post
no, you would be breaking the law. No wake means no wake, period. Boat ramp no wakes are best example, if you run up to sign then slow down and your wake hits a loading boat. Not only will you be responsible for the damage, but will also get a ticket.
Let's pretend you were a prosecuting attorney and had to prosecute this case and the defense attorney says, "Your honor, my client was at a speed no greater than that which is necessary to maintain steerage and headway as he entered the zone so no law was broken." What would your response be?
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Old 05-20-2020, 10:01 PM
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The law posted above is clear. Create all the wake you want until you reach the sign.
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Old 05-20-2020, 11:18 PM
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I guess go argue that case and probably win. Then watch all the no wake zones get expanded so that people cant do that and damage whatever the no wake zone was originally trying to protect in the first place..
Old 05-20-2020, 11:23 PM
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Old 05-21-2020, 02:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Jamato14 View Post
I take it as no wake going into sign BUT certain situations call for headway speed and that can cause a wake. The last bridge before my marina is known for current ripping. I was under just in gear last weekend against outgoing tide and was not moving...that’s more danger than throwing a little wake, I had to get to about 1300rpms which caused bow to rise to get through safe even though it threw a wake. If I were to get stopped I’d have that conversation and accept a fine if they gave it to me but I’ll take a ticket for no wake over getting pinned under a bridge or against a bridge any day.
Under CT law they wouldn't give you a ticket, or if they did it would quickly get tossed by the prosecutor assistants:

For purposes of this subsection, “slow-no-wake” means operation of a vessel at a speed that does not produce more than a minimum wake and is not greater than six miles per hour over ground, unless a higher minimum speed is necessary to maintain steerage when traveling with a strong current.
"Steerage speed" means the minimum speed necessary to allow a vessel to be steered while making forward progress.

Last edited by Dave51; 05-21-2020 at 02:58 AM.
Old 05-21-2020, 05:01 AM
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Originally Posted by nm4568 View Post
Let's pretend you were a prosecuting attorney and had to prosecute this case and the defense attorney says, "Your honor, my client was at a speed no greater than that which is necessary to maintain steerage and headway as he entered the zone so no law was broken." What would your response be?
The speeds of the boat is one part of the law. Your wake is separate part. They are not controlled by each other. You could get a speeding ticket without causing a wake, you could get a wake ticket without speeding.

Will try one more time to explain the intent.

if you were to do high speed donuts in your boat pushing large wakes into the no wake area you would get a ticket, even if you were not in the no wake zone. A wakeboard boat can not go right outside the sign and start making wakes that go into the no wake zone, they would get fined and it would hold up in a court of law.

no wake means exactly what it says, do not make wake and do not push wake into the area. Being outside of the sign does not give you freedom to push a wake into the area.
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Old 05-21-2020, 05:07 AM
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But what if Hitler was driving the boat?

Godwin's Law strikes again...
Old 05-21-2020, 05:19 AM
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Originally Posted by nm4568 View Post
I always thought that the no wake zone law was operated like a school zone. Basically, a person could haul ass up until the sign. Over the weekend, I was told differently, that by hauling ass up until you reach the sign still violates the law because you are bringing all that wake into the zone from behind you. .
I am still trying to decipher the physics of what you are stating. The wake is created by the bow and hull as it passes through the water and moves away from the boat from there. The only way your boat's wake could ever go forward from its starting point off your boat's hull is if the waterway is so narrow and shallow that your boat literally sucks that water with it as it travels - that suction is something you see with very large ships, even at slow speed, in narrow waterways where there is less than about 15% of the vessel's draft in water depth below the hull (i.e. ship draws 40' in a 45' deep waterway.
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