Boat racer fined $1,000 for 'lap' around freighter

The following is the text of a news release from the U.S. Coast Guard:

(BAY CITY, Mich.) — The Coast Guard received payment Oct. 13 from a fine issued to a powerboat racer in the amount of $1,000 for negligent operations for transiting at high speeds around a freight ship and failing to observe a "no wake" zone.

Failing to follow posted and published navigation rules can have serious safety consequences that lead to injury or death.

The payment was received for a violation that occurred June 21 on the Saginaw River when an individual operating an outboard racing boat was underway in the vicinity of the Liberty Bridge.

The driver and vessel were to participate in a racing event sanctioned by the International Outboard Grand Prix scheduled later in the week. In a very public display of negligent vessel operation, the operator failed to observe the posted "no wake" zone and also conducted a high-speed “lap” around a transiting freight ship more than 600 feet long, which was approaching the opened Liberty drawbridge.

As a result, the individual was placed on probation with the race organization for the remainder of the season and the Coast Guard sought a civil penalty in the amount of $1,000 that was later paid by the individual.

The Coast Guard, along with its state and local partners, is responsible for educating the public about recreational boating safety.

Recreational boaters should be aware of specific speed restrictions and other regulations pertaining to their areas of operation. Crossing the bow of a large, moving freight ship with limited maneuverability is not something that an educated and prudent operator should ever attempt. Boat motor stalls during this type of maneuver have proven to be catastrophic for boaters failing to recognize hazards inherent to marine operations.

By Professional Mariner Staff