California — a state that often serves as a bellwether for marine regulation — and Nevada have banned the practice of “teak surfing” on state waters. A fairly recent practice, teak surfing involves hanging onto the swim platform of a running boat and letting go to ride the wake. It presents dangers from both the propellers and high levels of carbon monoxide from the boat’s engine exhaust.
California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed the “Anthony Farr and Stacey Beckett Boating Safety Act” into law Sept. 17, making it illegal to operate a boat when someone is teak surfing, or for a person to be on or near the swim platform or swim ladder while the engine is running. Farr was an 11-year-old who died last year of carbon monoxide poisoning while teak surfing, and Beckett, who was 15, met a similar fate in 2000.
Another provision requires any new or used boat sold in California to have two carbon monoxide warning stickers affixed, one inside the boat and one on the transom. The law also calls on boatbuilders to continue to invest in research and development to find ways to minimize carbon monoxide emissions.
On Sept. 12, Nevada’s Board of Wildlife Commissioners, which regulates boating safety in the state, also banned teak surfing. The bans are the first of their kind in the nation.