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New Ohio law aims to decrease number of boat inspections

Ohio residents love their boats and enjoy hitting the open water for pleasure and sport. In fact, with more than 435,000 registered boats and watercrafts in the state, Ohio ranks as one of the most popular boating states. With all these boats, it stands to reason that some boating accidents will occur each year. In an effort to promote boating safety and crack down on potentially hazardous boating behaviors, law enforcement officials throughout the state often stop and inspect boats.

A new law, however, aims to cut down on the number of so-called non-essential stops of boaters by law enforcement officials. The "Boater Freedom Act" was recently passed by Ohio's Gov. Kasich. The bill grew out of discussions between Gov. Kasich and Rep. Rex Damschroder who insisted many of the stops were unnecessary and bordered on harassment.

Under the provisions of Ohio's new Boater Freedom Act, law enforcement officials no longer have the authority to stop a boat at will for inspections. Previously, such officials were allowed to randomly stop boaters and check for possible safety violations. With the passage of this law, however, such stops and inspections are only sanctioned if requested by the boat owner.

Speaking about the new law, Gov. Kasich was quick to defend the bill and insisted it is not intended to sanction drinking and boating or other illegal boating activities. Such activities, he noted, are still illegal and law enforcement officials are still advised to pull over and arrest boaters engaging in illegal or dangerous boating practices.

Ohio residents who have suffered injury or harm as a result of another boater's negligent acts may choose to take legal action. A personal injury lawsuit may be an appropriate means of recovering compensation related to painful and debilitating injuries, medical costs and lost wages.

Source: The Blade, "New law intended to reduce muliple safety violations," Matt Markey, July 11, 2013

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