Friday, July 12, 2013

Full throttle: Ohio boaters get relief from repeated safety inspections

My latest post on Ohio Watchdog:

Halfway through the boating season, but too late for the Fourth of July holiday, Gov. John Kasich has signed the Boater Freedom Act, which curbs some police inspections.

Now you can traverse the waters of Lake Erie without fear of being stopped multiple times by multiple jurisdictions for a safety check of your boat.

H.B. 29 specifies that the state’s law enforcement may only stop a vessel if they have reasonable suspicion that the vessel or operator is in violation of marine law or otherwise engaged in criminal activity. Owners may voluntarily request a safety inspection, and boats can be inspected during authorized checkpoint operations.

Previously, a boater could be stopped by a state watercraft officer, local marine patrol or U.S. Coast Guard for a safety check, sometimes multiple times in one day.

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