One of the most likely ways to get killed or maimed on a boat is to ride on the front, or bow, Coast Guard officials warned while announcing a crackdown on the practice.
State officials also said they see cases of illegal bow riding on many types of vessels, especially pontoon boats and small fishing boats. Some boats are designed for bow riding and are not the problem, they noted.
Children are especially likely to bounce off the front of boats, Coast Guard officials said.
"You might be a great boater, but the guy next to you hasn't boated in five years," Coast Guard Petty Officer Second Class Nathan Henise said in describing a situation where one boat gets hit by another or a careless boater cuts across the bow and creates turbulence that can dislodge someone riding on the bow.
Regardless of who is the culprit in such a case, the person riding on the bow is the one who may pay the price.
The crackdown on bow riding, which will continue into September, will be throughout the Coast Guard's Fifth District, which spans from North Carolina to mid-New Jersey.