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It's the Law

Unlawful Operation


Maine law states that these dangerous operating practices are illegal.

Reckless Operation of a vessel, water ski, surfboard, or similar device is operating in a manner that recklessly creates a substantial risk of serious bodily injury to another person. For example, weaving your vessel through congested waterway traffic is illegal, reckless operation.

Operating To Endanger is operating a vessel, water ski, surfboard, or similar device in a manner that endangers any person or property.

Imprudent Operation of a Vessel is engaging in prolonged circling, informal racing, wake jumping, or other types of continued and repeated activities that harass another person while operating on Maine waters.

Operating Within a Bathing Area is operating a motorboat in an area that is marked or buoyed for bathing (swimming).

Operating To Molest Wildlife is chasing, molesting, harassing, driving, or herding wildlife with your vessel, unless allowed during the open season on that species.

Improper Speed or Distance is not keeping a proper speed and distance while operating a vessel. You may not:

  • Operate at a rate of speed that is not reasonable and prudent for existing conditions.
    • Operators must regulate their speed to avoid endangering, injuring, or unnecessarily inconveniencing another vessel and its occupants, whether anchored or underway.
    • Operators also must also consider the effect of their vessel's wake on waterfront piers, floats, other property, or shorelines.
    • Operate a vessel at greater than “headway speed” while:
      • Within 200 feet of any shoreline, including islands
      • Within a marina or an approved anchorage in coastal or inland waters

Headway Speed” means the slowest speed at which it is still possible to maintain steering and control of the vessel.

Exception: Vessels may operate at greater than headway speed in the areas listed above while actively fishing or while following a direct course to pick up or drop off skiers.

Unlawfully Permitting Operation is negligently permitting another person to operate your vessel in violation of Maine law.