Ohio Boating Law

Ohio Boating Laws


Read the whole thing on the State of Ohio Web Site
The state of Ohio has amateur web developers, they constantly change the web-page address, hopefully the link works.



Recent Law Updates (2011)

Float Tubes and Paddleboards Are Vessels.

The US Coast Guard has determined that float tubes (aka "belly boats") are vessels and are required to have a Hull Identification Number (HIN). Thus float tubes must be registered under Ohio law. EXCEPTION: Float tubes with one air cell are not considered to be vessels, so they cannot be registered in Ohio.

Paddleboards are also vessels according the US Coast Guard and must be registered in Ohio, but they are not required to have a HIN.

Float tubes and paddleboards fall into the "manually propelled" vessel category with canoes and kayaks. Registrations must be carried onboard, and lifejackets must be available to every person onboard. All operating rules and lighting and safety equipment requirements that apply to manually propelled vessels apply to float tubes and paddleboards.




Boating Law Changes Effective . . (2008)

Senate Bill 271 included changes to some Ohio boating laws to help enhance boating safety and enjoyment:

• A "slow tow" provision will permit boaters to tow ski tubes and other towables at a slow pace in areas outside of the designated speed and ski zones, primarily in the interest of safety. This provision will create additional recreational opportunities for individuals who are physically unable to manage or do not desire the higher speeds of open zones.

• Establishes "failure to control" as an enforceable boat operator rule. Many accidents occur as the result of operator inexperience or the forces of nature. These are not the result of a “rules of the road” violation or caused by reckless operation, but may result in minor property damage or injury. Examples of situations encompassed by the “failure to control” law include: over-compensation in strong winds or currents, loss of steerage on jet boats when the throttle is released, and attempting to maneuver under sail power alone through congested areas like marinas.

• Creates a "no wake zone" around boats actively engaged in public service, including law enforcement, fireboats, search and rescue teams, dredges and towing services. This is similar to the law requiring motorists to proceed with caution and change lanes or slow down when approaching a stationary public safety vehicle displaying an emergency light.

• Approves the children's swimsuit-style life jacket as an acceptable lifejacket for children who are required by law to wear a lifejacket (children under 10 on boats under 18 feet, in Ohio). The swimsuit-style personal flotation device was approved by the U.S. Coast Guard several years ago and is designed to be more comfortable and better suited to the activities of children participating in family boating. These PFDs are considered to be "Type V" lifejackets, which the old Ohio law did not explicitly allow for children.

• Allows for the transfer of electronic titles for outboard motors. This provision reduces the time it takes to transfer titles by preventing the need for a watercraft dealer to first issue a physical title.


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