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Course Outline

Massachusetts law designates the following dangerous operating practices as illegal.

Riding on the Bow or Gunwales is allowing passengers to ride on the bow, gunwales, or any other place where there may be a chance of falling overboard.

Failure to Follow Navigation Rules is operating a vessel on Massachusetts waters in violation of the navigation rules.

Overloading or Overpowering is loading or powering the vessel beyond the safe load and power limits, taking into consideration weather and other operating conditions. The safe load and power limits for most vessels are shown on the capacity plate installed by the vessel manufacturer.

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 terminate the voyage if any of the following “unsafe conditions” exist:

  • Inadequate number of PFDs or fire extinguishers
  • Overloading (check capacity plate information)
  • Failure to display navigation lights after sunset
  • Fuel leakage or excessive fuel accumulation in the bilges or the 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
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