DNR definition of no-wake?

  • Avatar of Justin Schneider (Woods & Water Insurance) Justin Schneider (Woods & Water Insurance) 
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    Posts: 1,694
    #1263047

    Hey guys,

    I’m looking for a little claification on a DNR ruling. Heres the thing:

    I had the pleasure of getting stopped by a Washington Co. Sherrif last evening on the Croix. As the officer approached, he stated that I was stopped for making a “wake” in a no wake zone, and he would be issuing me a warning, along with doing a routine check up of my boat.

    I politely informed the officer that I was not making a wake to my knowlege, and asked him his ruling on what a wake is. Unforunately he wasn’t really able to tell me what exactly a wake it. He simply stated that if there is a wave behind your boat, its a wake. I was always under the impression that in order to be considered a wake, the water behind your boat must be curling over/forming a white cap.

    Also the officer gave me a warning because my life jacket was not accessable. He stated that since my life jacket was in a compartment located in the bow of the boat that it was not accessable and the law states that it needed to be. I thought this was just for your throwable.

    Am I correct on these, or did I get off lucky with a warning????

    Avatar of suzuki suzuki 
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    Posts: 10,655
    #779531

    I consider curling over a wave. A wake would be any noticable disturbance eminating outward from stern. Large enough to affect a nearby object. Obviously there is no way to measure and it is at the officers discretion. Didnt know the life jackets had to be accesbile. I too thought just the throwable. Mine have always been but only because I dont have a compartment to fit them in. Thanks for the info.

    Avatar of Pete Bauer Pete Bauer 
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    Posts: 2,388
    #779536

    Quote:


    Didnt know the life jackets had to be accesbile. I too thought just the throwable. Mine have always been but only because I dont have a compartment to fit them in. Thanks for the info.


    I was always under the impression that they can be in a storage compartment as long as it isn’t locked?

    Avatar of Brian Klawitter Brian Klawitter 
    Keymaster
    Posts: 43,844
    #779540

    Not sure of the DNR def…but the USCG’s is as slow as possible and still have control of your vessel.

    As far as PFD’s go…let’s just forget about the law for a moment. If your jacket is not “accessible” like in a compartment, what good will it do?

    Although I would like to preach about wearing a pdf all the time while on the water…I’ll spare everyone.

    today.

    Avatar of stinkycat Stinkycat 
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    Posts: 647
    #779541

    What is the definition of “accessible” in the DNR’s view?

    Avatar of Wade Boardman Wade Boardman 
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    Posts: 3,587
    #779542

    Page 15 of the 2009 MN DNR boating regs.

    The requirements for PFDs are as follows:

    On all boats (except a sailboard) regardless of

    length (including canoes, kayaks and duck boats),

    INFLATABLE

    15

    MN 4316 AD

    Less than 16 feet

    or any size canoe or

    kayak One life jacket

    per person

    16 feet or longer

    except canoes

    and kayaks

    MN 2000 GT

    there must be a readily accessible U.S. Coast Guard

    approved Type I, II, III or V wearable PFD (life jacket)

    for each person on board. Type IV throwable devices,

    such as buoyant cushions, are no longer

    acceptable primary lifesaving devices.

    IN ADDITION, on boats 16 feet or longer (except

    canoes and kayaks) there must also be at

    least one U.S. Coast Guard approved Type IV throwable

    device, such as a buoyant cushion or ring

    buoy immediately available for each boat.

    The law does not state that PFDs must be worn,

    only that they are readily accessible except for

    personal watercraft (Wave Runners, Jet Skis, etc.)

    and children under 10. (see page 16)

    HOWEVER… we highly recommend that PFDs

    always be worn by everyone on board any boat.

    Check the label on the PFD to make sure it is a

    U.S. Coast Guard approved flotation device and

    what type of device it is.

    Page 16.

     Readily accessible – means easily retrievable

    within a reasonable amount of time in an

    emergency. PFDs in plastic bags, locked

    lockers, or under anchors or line are examples

    of PFDs that are not accessible.

     Immediately available – means Type IV

    throwable devices must be easily reached in

    time of an emergency by someone on board

    the boat. Generally this means they will be

    in the open and not in a container.

    Avatar of life1978 life1978 
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    Posts: 2,801
    #779543

    Quote:


    I was always under the impression that they can be in a storage compartment as long as it isn’t locked?


    Same here

    Avatar of alumanator alumanator 
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    Posts: 346
    #779544

    This is what the 2008 Minnesota Statutes says
    Subd. 16a.Slow-no wake.

    “Slow-no wake” means operation of a watercraft at the slowest possible speed necessary to maintain steerage, but in no case greater than five miles per hour.

    It took some time to find this.

    Avatar of Wade Boardman Wade Boardman 
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    Posts: 3,587
    #779545

    Quote:


    What is the definition of “accessible” in the DNR’s view?


     Readily accessible – means easily retrievable

    within a reasonable amount of time in an

    emergency. PFDs in plastic bags, locked

    lockers, or under anchors or line are examples

    of PFDs that are not accessible.

     Immediately available – means Type IV

    throwable devices must be easily reached in

    time of an emergency by someone on board

    the boat. Generally this means they will be

    in the open and not in a container.

    Avatar of nic-habeck nic-habeck 
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    Posts: 832
    #779546

    “operation of a watercraft at the slowest possible speed necessary to maintain steerage, but in no case greater than five miles per hour.”

    Has nothing to do with the size of your wave.

    Avatar of daveb DaveB 
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    #779547

    I thought that the life jacket rule was changed when they made it manditory that kids under X had to have one on at all times. They now need to be out and accessible. The 1st thing I do now it take them out and put them on the chair backs for anyone in the boat.

    A wake is a wave from your boat (or a reason for an Irishman to drink!). If you are in current moving upstream, I think a wake at 1-2 GPS mph is acceptable. Any other noticable wave is an offense IMO.

    Avatar of Wade Boardman Wade Boardman 
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    Posts: 3,587
    #779548

    Quote:


    I thought that the life jacket rule was changed when they made it manditory that kids under X had to have one on at all times. They now need to be out and accessible. The 1st thing I do now it take them out and put them on the chair backs for anyone in the boat.

    A wake is a wave from your boat (or a reason for an Irishman to drink!). If you are in current moving upstream, I think a wake at 1-2 GPS mph is acceptable. Any other noticable wave is an offense IMO.


     Mandatory Child Life Jacket Wear Law:
    As of May 6, 2005, Minnesota law requires a
    life jacket to be worn by children less than
    10 years old when aboard any watercraft
    17
    while underway. Underway means not attached
    to a permanent mooring or tied to a
    dock. There are exceptions to the wear law
    for:
    (1) children who are below the top deck or
    in an enclosed cabin,
    (2) children aboard passenger vessels being
    operated by a licensed captain,
    (3) children on a boat that is anchored for the
    purpose of swimming or diving.

    Avatar of jon_wbl jon_wbl 
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    Posts: 223
    #779549

    I keep my life jackets on the seats also. I keep them on tightly so they won’t blow off. I think it was on Vermilion a fews years ago that a CO told me that they where on the seats to tight and not easily accessable.

    Avatar of joe-scegura joe-scegura 
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    Posts: 893
    #779552

    I don’t think you disserved a warning if your lifejackets were on top in an unlocked compartment.

    Avatar of gary_wellman gary_wellman 
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    Posts: 6,062
    #779556

    File a complaint with Washington County for receiving a warning without just cause.
    See where it takes you.

    Avatar of walleyebuster5 walleyebuster5 
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    Posts: 3,546
    #779559

    I do the same Dave. Life jackets and floatation come out the second I dip the boat (then the net!). And like Brian said, what good is it if it’s in a compartment, locked or not? Just my 2cents.

    Avatar of Ralph Wiggum Ralph Wiggum 
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    Posts: 6,095
    #779565

    Personally, I think you got lucky on both offenses with just a warning. No harm done, just learn from the mistake.

    Avatar of Justin Schneider (Woods & Water Insurance) Justin Schneider (Woods & Water Insurance) 
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    Posts: 1,694
    #779582

    Wow! Thanks for all the replies guys.

    I guess this means I need to slow down a bit more than usual. Whats funny is that I’ve been operating my boat in this manner for 10+ years throught the now wake zones in the Croix and have never been stopped until now.

    Quote:


    File a complaint with Washington County for receiving a warning without just cause.


    I thought about his as well, simply becuase of the life jacket issue, but we will see. It’s just a little frustrating to know that my boat will now be targeted in the future IMO.

    Avatar of Steve Root Steve Root 
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    Posts: 3,206
    #779601
    Quote:

    As far as PFD’s go…let’s just forget about the law for a moment. If your jacket is not “accessible” like in a compartment, what good will it do?


    I can swim almost as well as a 1968 Buick LeSabre…so I wear the thing and keep it on.

    Avatar of gary_wellman gary_wellman 
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    Posts: 6,062
    #779614

    Quote:


    Wow! Thanks for all the replies guys.

    I guess this means I need to slow down a bit more than usual. Whats funny is that I’ve been operating my boat in this manner for 10+ years throught the now wake zones in the Croix and have never been stopped until now.

    Quote:


    File a complaint with Washington County for receiving a warning without just cause.


    I thought about his as well, simply becuase of the life jacket issue, but we will see. It’s just a little frustrating to know that my boat will now be targeted in the future IMO.


    I’m not saying to file a complaint to be a jerk or anything about it in any way. I would file a complaint due to the peace officer not knowing the laws and to ensure there is uniform interpretation of the laws amongst all people (those who uphold the law, as well as those whom follow).

    Avatar of Dave Ansell Dave Ansell 
    Participant
    Posts: 1,300
    #779615

    I was told about the life jackets needing to be out while on pool 5a by both the WI and MN CO’s. If you really want to get technical, they may also check to see if your battery terminals are covered. I can’t recall the exact reg but I know you have to have at least one of the terminals cover and I believe I was told this is a Coast Guard thing.

    Good luck and be safe no matter where you are at on the water. Just like the recent accident on pool 4, you always have to be aware and concerned about the others out there.

    avatar robstenger 
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    Posts: 11,403
    #779617

    Rootski who are you kidding???? We all know that the LeSabre can swim better.

    avatar perch_44 
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    Posts: 1,587
    #779659

    i just put the lifejackets and throwable under the console by my feet. they are out of the way, but very accessible.

    avatar Czech 
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    Posts: 1,579
    #779664

    We were checked out by a WI CO a couple of weeks back on the Croix. He went through everything, including asking for my friend’s wearable which said friend then removed from the front hatch. CO didn’t say anything other than my boat may need some new number decals which are pealing. I told him he better put his lights on as it was getting dark, we were already lit up. Love my Floatright!

    Avatar of Ralph Wiggum Ralph Wiggum 
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    Posts: 6,095
    #779687

    I don’t think you have any basis for filing a complaint. You were traveling faster than a no-wake speed and your life jacket was in a compartment. Both clear violations of the laws that have been previously posted. I don’t see that the officer did anything wrong.

    I’m not trying to be difficult, but especially since he just gave you a warning, I’d drop it.

    Avatar of Brian Klawitter Brian Klawitter 
    Keymaster
    Posts: 43,844
    #779690

    Because of the way the law is written and people view the whole accessible thing differently, I’ve asked county and dnr enforcement what the law is.

    One will tell me in an unlocked compartment (Dakota County water Patrol) one will say out of any compartment (Washington County and the DNR)…although I’m going to guess it might depend on which officer I ask.

    So…my policy was to keep the throwable attached to the snap compartment in the bow. Grab it and go…and wear one of the many Class Five PFD on the market today. Class V meaning it must be worn to be legal.

    No wear lifie jacket…boat no go.

    No law enforcement has said boo to me in over 3 years.

    I encourage every one that goes on the water to ask their Favorite Spouse for one of the auto inflate PFD’s on the market today for their birthday or Christmas. They are just too comfortable!

    avatar swimingjig 
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    Posts: 698
    #779709

    I got a warning about 8 years ago for not haveing my throw cusion out ( normally I do have it out). My life Vest was on the floor but he said I still need a cusion out. My arguement was since I was out fishing by myselfe who would throw it to me if I needed it. He was stumped. He just said that is the law.

    They just want everybody to be safe.

    Avatar of clarence_chapman clarence_chapman 
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    Posts: 1,349
    #779716

    Had one stop me for going to fast through Kinny during high water. I litteraly would move backward (down river) if I had no wake. I gave it just enough to move forward and they stopped me and threatened a ticket. I challenged them to go below the Kinny and come back up with out a wake. Of coarse they declined my challenge and let me off with a warning
    but common sense has nothing to do with the law with some of the officers. And you are right, There is no clear interpretation of the law on wake or life jackets. It can be a loosing situation if you take one interepretation as bible.

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