Dear Judge Babbitt ,
This letter is in regards to a ticket I received on 3-16-04 on Lake Havasu (complaint # 70286) for excess wake.
On our recent trip to California to retrieve a used boat I purchased my wife and I decided to take a day to visit and go boating at the well publicized Lake Havasu on our return trip to our home in Missouri. This boat is the X boat that I have owned and I have been boating for X years. (add if true) To this point I have never received a citation for violation of a maritime law. This brings me to the situation that occurred on March 16th of this year.
As we passed under the (name of the bridge here) bridge and passed several waterfront commercial establishments at idle speed and we came to what I believed to be the end of the no wake zone. I have attached a picture(s) of the buoy in question. The buoy is obviously in the shape and color of an informational buoy as is described and pictured on the US Coast Guards non-lateral aids to navigation web site. Because this type of navigation aid is used for numerous navigational restrictions and hazards such as restricted areas, swimming areas, hazards such as rocks or speed limit restrictions it is imperative that the buoy be clearly marked and readable to identify the restriction or hazard. Because the buoys were obviously unreadable and their location was such that a reasonable person familiar with the use of these navigation aides would conclude that this was the end of a no wake zone. There were few boats in the area and none operating in a manor that lead me to believe that we had not in fact left the no wake area. Therefore we proceeded to increase speed to plane the boat off. Approximately 500 yards away from the first set of buoys I observed a second set of buoys and immediately brought the boat back to an idle speed. This second set of buoys were place far enough away from the first set that it would be unreasonable for the average person to visually observe them from the first set.
When I was stopped and cited by the Officer I explained the facts as I have to you but instead of issuing a me a warning I was ticketed and told “You should have read the first set of buoys”. As you can see from the enclosed pictures it is impossible to read the buoy.
I would never intentionally break any posted speed limits or violate the law and I believe that any reasonable boater would have come to the same conclusions that I did given the facts as presented. Therefore I am asking you to set aside and dismiss this citation and would further ask that the water enforcement division at the lake immediately correct this obviously confusing navigation aid.