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Author Topic:   Bow Riding
Tom W Clark posted 09-22-2008 10:58 PM ET (US)   Profile for Tom W Clark   Send Email to Tom W Clark  
If you are going to ride in the bow of a boat...sit down.

A Seattle man was killed on Lake Powell, AZ Saturday when the boat he was riding in, while standing in the bow holding the bow line, decelerated, which seems to have pitched him over the bow and the boat then ran over him. 2008195628_webdrowning22m.html

20dauntless posted 09-22-2008 11:07 PM ET (US)     Profile for 20dauntless    
Bow riding is illegal unless it is in a specifically designed area (like a bowrider) or when docking, anchoring, or picking up a mooring.
AllanR posted 09-23-2008 12:37 AM ET (US)     Profile for AllanR  Send Email to AllanR     
Not a good practice to stand up in the bow of a boat when it is moving at speed. Also another reason that I like to have those bow rails on my Montauk. I know some folks don't like em, but to me they are life savers. You never know when somebody might jump up without warning and do something unexpected and the bow rail is a great safety feature.
Brian7son posted 09-23-2008 12:28 PM ET (US)     Profile for Brian7son  Send Email to Brian7son     
Bow riding is illegal in Florida as well, but I still see it all the time. At least every 3rd weekend I'll see a boat cruising along on plane with kids sitting on the bow dangling their legs over the front edge of the boat. The parent was smart enough to put life jackets on the kids, but too stupid to realize the perilous position that he/she put his kids in. It makes me cringe whenever I see it. All it takes is hitting one wake wrong or sudden deceleration and either death or horrific injuries occur to the bow riding passenger (adult or child).
contender posted 09-23-2008 12:51 PM ET (US)     Profile for contender  Send Email to contender     
Copy what Brianson7 stated, Get a ticket in Fla. Seen to many accidents, If the bow does not get you the prop will...Think safety...Be safe
pglein posted 09-23-2008 02:02 PM ET (US)     Profile for pglein  Send Email to pglein     

By what authority? I've never heard of any such law. Is this a Federal law? Washington state? A search for "bow" in the RCW produced nothing relevant. Just a few laws about hunting with a bow.

chopbuster posted 09-23-2008 02:11 PM ET (US)     Profile for chopbuster    
Bow riding (sitting over the bow and dangling legs) is a decidedly dumb-ass thing to do in a boat.

You see it all of the time, especially involving children.

I'd wager the opertors had not taken a boating course where bow riding is highly discouraged if not specifically prohibited depending on the particular state.

chopbuster posted 09-23-2008 02:22 PM ET (US)     Profile for chopbuster    
Read on: bow-riding-leads-to-boating-accident.aspx?googleid=244786

2manyboats posted 09-23-2008 02:33 PM ET (US)     Profile for 2manyboats  Send Email to 2manyboats     
In Mississippi it is illegal

see chapter6 on page 3

sapple posted 09-23-2008 08:28 PM ET (US)     Profile for sapple  Send Email to sapple     
Would sitting on the bow cushion of a Montauk equiped with bow rails be considered "bow riding" ?
BlueMax posted 09-23-2008 09:16 PM ET (US)     Profile for BlueMax  Send Email to BlueMax     
Sapple - I think the key is found in the last part of the sentence of the Mississippi ordinance (emphasis is mine):

100.07 Bow riding, or allowing a person to ride any place on the vessel where there is a potential risk of injury. This includes, but is not limited to, riding on exposed bow decks, riding on swim platforms, riding on gunwhales, or riding any place on the vessel which was not designed as a normal passenger seat.

In my opinion the "bow riding" referred to in these laws maybe pertains more to cuddy cabin type vessels that have an area where a passenger can lay, walk or stand but not sit properly or safely while under way. Also I think it pertains to sitting at the bow railing with your legs dangling over the boat even if there is a proper area for seating in the bow section (in effect, not being safely or properly seated while under way).

contender posted 09-23-2008 09:22 PM ET (US)     Profile for contender  Send Email to contender     
Pglein; This is a Florida State Law. Anyway why would you want to do this, one slip and you can fall overboard, Its just not worth it...ride safe...boat safe
Chuck Tribolet posted 09-23-2008 11:49 PM ET (US)     Profile for Chuck Tribolet  Send Email to Chuck Tribolet     
What BlueMax describes is illegal in California, but that's
not what was described in the original post.


Tom W Clark posted 09-24-2008 12:35 AM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     
What the original post describes is rather well described in the Mississippi "ordinance" that BlueMax cites.

Numerous states seem to have outlawed "bow riding". I have always understood Washington State to be onboard with this as well indeed, numerous online sources including the Seattle Times indicate this to be true. Here is one source:

However, Peter has made me curious. I have cannot found anything is the Revised Code of Washington (RCW) that explicitly prohibits "bow riding." I have looked.

The closet law is RCW 79A.60.180, paragraph 1:

"A person shall not load or permit to be loaded a vessel with passengers or cargo beyond its safe carrying ability or carry passengers or cargo in an unsafe manner taking into consideration weather and other existing operating conditions"

That could be interpreted to include "bow riding" but why is it not more clear? Have I missed another more relevant part of the RCW? Why do web sites seem to quote Washington State Law when there is no such language in the RCW?

HuronBob posted 09-24-2008 07:33 AM ET (US)     Profile for HuronBob    
From the Michigan DNR Boating site:


Riding on the Bow is illegal if the vessel is not equipped with bow seating and the vessel is operating at greater than "slow, no wake speed." Persons also are not allowed to ride on the gunwale. While underway, persons on a vessel may not sit, stand, or walk on any portion of a vessel not designed for that purpose.

Pretty clear...

When I see folks doing this, I just consider it as Darwin at work, keeping our gene pool clean!

Bella con23 posted 09-24-2008 07:59 AM ET (US)     Profile for Bella con23  Send Email to Bella con23     
This is from the USCG Auxillary Flotilla 32 - Des Moines, WA.

Negligent Operation

The Coast Guard may impose a civil penalty for Negligent or Grossly Negligent Operation of a vessel that endangers lives and/or property. Grossly Negligent Operation is a criminal offense with fines up to $5,000, imprisonment for one year, or both. Examples of Grossly Negligent Operation include:

- Operating a boat in a swimming area;
- Operating a boat under the influence of alcohol or drugs;
- Speeding near other boats or in dangerous waters;
- Hazardous waterskiing practices; and
- Bowriding, riding on seatback, riding on gunwale, riding on transom.

Every state has there own say. New Jersey does not regulate bow riding, but I would bet it will get the Coast Guard, marine police, etc. attention real quick.

swist posted 09-24-2008 08:07 AM ET (US)     Profile for swist  Send Email to swist     
It doesn't have to be "bow riding" to be dangerous. Crew member grabs the forward line in preparation for docking and stands on the cushion or forward gunwale, assuming the boat is at idle speed - but it is not, and the sudden decceleration to idle pitches the crew member forward. This can be particularly dangerous as the victim can wind up between the boat and the dock, not just in the water.

You see a lot of people holding the bow line and standing up so they can jump onto the dock quickly. Better to stay seated and risk a "missed approach".

chopbuster posted 09-24-2008 02:50 PM ET (US)     Profile for chopbuster    
Anyone truly curious about the permissibility or legality of bow riding ?

Attempt it in front of a passing USCG or any law enforcement patrol and get back to us on that experience.

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