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Can a Passenger sit in front of the operator in a bowrider?

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Can a Passenger sit in front of the operator in a bowrider?

Old 09-07-2015, 08:22 PM
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Default Can a Passenger sit in front of the operator in a bowrider?

A marine officer told me that a passenger was not suppose to sit in the open bow in front of the operator as it obstruct the operators visibility? He didn't say if it was a law or not. The seat in front of the operator is one of the seats that counts toward my capacity of the boat. No passenger of mine has ever obstructed my visibility while sitting in the bow in front of me.

Does anyone know if this is a law or not? No ticket involved as the officer just mentioned it while looking over things. It was just a check on Labor Day. Glad they were out doing their job even though it took away some of my time to go through the check.
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Old 09-07-2015, 08:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Bonus Check View Post
A marine officer told me that a passenger was not suppose to sit in the open bow in front of the operator as it obstruct the operators visibility? He didn't say if it was a law or not. The seat in front of the operator is one of the seats that counts toward my capacity of the boat. No passenger of mine has ever obstructed my visibility while sitting in the bow in front of me.

Does anyone know if this is a law or not? No ticket involved as the officer just mentioned it while looking over things. It was just a check on Labor Day. Glad they were out doing their job even though it took away some of my time to go through the check.
I have had WP instruct my passengers to get off the rail and sit back in their seats in the bow (he was correct and I should have caught that first). That was a a small bowrider and there were no other seats open behind me.
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Old 09-07-2015, 08:39 PM
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There is no rail on my boat and my passenger was seated the entire time. I can see it they are up on the rail as to how that can obstruct your visibility.
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Old 09-07-2015, 09:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Bonus Check View Post
There is no rail on my boat and my passenger was seated the entire time. I can see it they are up on the rail as to how that can obstruct your visibility.
It was not a visibility thing in our case. It was drunk girls that should have been in their seats rather than sitting on the gunwale. He was right and I should have made them stay in their seats until I had docked.

No idea why the officer brought up visibility. Sounds like a stretch to sound authoritative.
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Old 09-07-2015, 11:54 PM
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In Florida I have never heard of such a thing, I always have people in front of the console, type of boat should not matter.

Unless your another state with a weird law on the books it sounds like the cop was pushing his own agenda, kinda like some of the coasties down here do with life jackets.
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Old 09-08-2015, 03:30 AM
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That was one of those "I'll make this up as I go along" laws.
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Old 09-08-2015, 03:47 AM
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Some of them, get so tied up in thinking they are public safety, they will try and enforce what they think not what is the law.
Laptop on my dash is my log book on the truck. Had a officer in his personal car, in uniform pull up beside me take his two fingers point at his eyes and then point at the HWY like he was letting me know to keep my eyes on the road.

Don't have anything to do with vision but federal law allows us to strap a car down with only two straps. Their are LEO that have hand written tickets in SC for not having 4 straps on a car. SC law does not require that either. Of course that hit CDL life and the internet quickly. Some will take the law to their limits not what the law states.


Just say yes sir, don't ever argue with them, when something like that is happening and allow the meting to get over asap. You won't win that battle no mater what the law allows. .

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Old 09-08-2015, 04:02 AM
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Overzealous water cop.

On a different yet similar subject, I HATE seeing asshats that let their kids sit around the bow dangling their legs. So dangerous.
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Old 09-08-2015, 05:40 AM
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" It was drunk girls "

We need pics of the drunk girls to determine if they were an obstruction
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Old 09-08-2015, 05:50 AM
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We have passed by the DNR many times here in Maryland with someone sitting in front the helm and never has one stopped us.







.
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Old 09-08-2015, 06:20 AM
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When I took the Coast Guard boater safety course about 20 years ago, I definitely remember learning that you cannot have a passenger in front of the driver on a bow rider. Growing up on a lake and having a bow rider, that's a rule we always followed.
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Old 09-08-2015, 07:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Obvious View Post
When I took the Coast Guard boater safety course about 20 years ago, I definitely remember learning that you cannot have a passenger in front of the driver on a bow rider. Growing up on a lake and having a bow rider, that's a rule we always followed.
This is most likely what you learned.
Sitting in any position that is above the gunwale or cap of a vessel while moving above idle speed.
Riding on bow of vessel not equipped with handrails.
Riding on vessel with lower extremities hanging over the gunwale or cap of the vessel

If there is a seat for the passenger it is ok for they should be sitting while on plane.
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Old 09-08-2015, 07:21 AM
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I have always been under the impression that if the seat was installed by the manufacturer it is legal seating while underway, with the exception of a bow seat mounted on the cast deck of a bass boat.

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Old 09-08-2015, 08:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Bonus Check View Post
A marine officer told me that a passenger was not suppose to sit in the open bow in front of the operator as it obstruct the operators visibility? He didn't say if it was a law or not.
I wasn't there, so I don't know exactly what was said but it sounds to me like he was just giving you a friendly tip on safety. As you said, he didn't say it was a law. I certainly wouldn't take it as an overzealous cop, especially since he didn't give a ticket for it. I say kuddos to him for offering up the advice instead of just moving along. I don't know your boat so I won't comment on it specifically, but I would guess in most small bowriders, a rider directly in front of the driver would surely affect vision.
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Old 09-08-2015, 08:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Turtle9343 View Post
I wasn't there, so I don't know exactly what was said but it sounds to me like he was just giving you a friendly tip on safety. As you said, he didn't say it was a law. I certainly wouldn't take it as an overzealous cop, especially since he didn't give a ticket for it. I say kuddos to him for offering up the advice instead of just moving along. I don't know your boat so I won't comment on it specifically, but I would guess in most small bowriders, a rider directly in front of the driver would surely affect vision.
x2 Makes good sense to have the shortest passenger occupy the seat directly in front of the helm and keep the 6 footers elsewhere.
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Old 09-08-2015, 08:31 AM
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Originally Posted by NJFISH View Post
Overzealous water cop.

On a different yet similar subject, I HATE seeing asshats that let their kids sit around the bow dangling their legs. So dangerous.
feet dangling in the water is a definite violation, no matter whether it is the bow, midships or stern.
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Old 09-08-2015, 01:08 PM
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Don't forget, the people in the bow will get bounced more when hitting a big wake.
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Old 09-08-2015, 01:12 PM
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This is news to me. I have never heard of a passanger in front of the driver on a bowrider not being allowed.
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Old 09-08-2015, 01:20 PM
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If I'm operating on a plane and someone is sitting in front of the helm I'll either stand or ask them to move. No wake zone I can see around them by steering or a move of the head.
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Old 09-08-2015, 01:43 PM
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Go to your DEP or State LE website - the regs should be on line.

In the meantime use common sense and remember there are a lot of bow riders out there and they are still making them with seating like you have in yours. Nice boat. I suspect there in general wording about unobstructed view ahead.
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