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California law designates the following dangerous operating practices as illegal.

Riding on Bow or Gunwales is allowing passengers to ride on the bow, gunwale, or any other place where there is a danger of falling overboard, or in a position or manner that is obviously dangerous. This provision does not apply to a vessel’s crew when anchoring or mooring, or in the necessary management of a sail.

Unlawful Operation: Riding on the Stern

Unsafe Condition is operating a vessel in a condition that causes danger to the occupants or others on the waterways. Law enforcement officers may instruct the operator to take immediate corrective action or return to shore if any unsafe conditions exist such as:

  • Inadequate number of life jackets or fire extinguishers
  • Failure to display navigation lights after sunset
  • Fuel leakage or excessive fuel accumulation in bilges or engine compartment
  • Lack of proper ventilation of engine spaces
  • Failure to meet carburetor backfire flame arrestor requirements
  • Excessive leakage or accumulation of water in the bilge