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Unlawful Operating Practices

Pennsylvania law states that it is unlawful to operate a vessel in a reckless, negligent, or dangerous manner. The following dangerous operating practices are illegal.

Improper Speed or Distance is not maintaining a proper speed or distance while operating a vessel or while towing a person on water skis or any similar device. Specifically, it is illegal to:

  • Operate at a rate of speed that endangers the life or property of any person.
  • Operate a vessel at greater than “slow, no wake speed” if within 100 feet of:
    • A shoreline
    • Docks or launch ramps
    • Swimmers, downed skiers, or persons wading in the water
    • Anchored, moored, or drifting boats or floats
  • Operate a boat less than 20 feet in length at greater than “slow, no wake speed” while a person is standing on or in the boat.
  • Cause a vessel to become airborne (leave the water completely) while crossing another vessel’s wake when within 100 feet of the vessel creating the wake.
  • Operate at faster than “slow, no wake speed” within 100 feet to the rear of or 50 feet to the side of another vessel that is underway (unless in a narrow channel).
  • Operate within 100 feet of anyone being towed behind another vessel.
  • Weave your vessel through congested waterway traffic or swerve at the last possible moment in order to avoid collision.