Ohio's Law Enforcement Authority

Within the area of their jurisdiction, Ohio’s boating laws are enforced by:

  • Sheriffs, deputy sheriffs, marshals, deputy marshals, municipal police officers, township police constables, wildlife officers, park or conservancy district officers, or other law enforcement officers.

Ohio's Law Enforcement Authority

Law enforcement officers in Ohio have the authority to stop, inspect and board any recreational boat.

Stopping or Yielding to Law Enforcement Vessels

Upon the approach of a law enforcement boat with a blue flashing light, the operator of any boat is required to stop or give-way in any situation until the law enforcement boat has passed.

It is illegal to:

  • Fail to comply with any lawful order of an officer having authority to direct or regulate the operation or use of boats.
  • Purposely elude or flee from an officer after a visible or audible signal to bring the boat to a stop is given.
  • Operate a boat that creates a wake within 100 feet of a stopped law enforcement boat with a blue flashing light.
  • Operate a boat that creates a wake within 100 feet of a public service boat displaying a red and yellow alternating flashing light.
  • Permit the operation of a boat in violation of this section.

Ohio’s Public Service Vessels

Public service vessels are boats that are escorting or patrolling special water events, traffic control, salvage, firefighting, medical aid, assisting disabled boats or search and rescue. You are responsible for any damage or injury caused by your wake. Either steer well clear of these boats or pass at idle speed.

Ohio’s Special Activities Permit

No person shall conduct any special activity on Ohio State Park waters without obtaining a permit 30 days prior to the anticipated event.