DCBiker97

No No - on the upper Potomac River - DC boaters

13 posts in this topic

So for all my fellow boaters that are n the DC area and boat the upper Potomac to include the Georgetown/Three Sisters area, be aware that DC harbor patrol has at least one officer that is enforcing a "law" that dates back to the early 1900s --which states it is illegal to "swim, float, or otherwise be in the water" of the Potomac. It is okay to be engaged in tubing, wake boarding, etc. but apparently just taking a dip to cool off or having one of those floating islands is a big no no. Oh and don't stop the boat, take a break between tubing and use the tube as a raft, that is also not allowed. Cause then you are "floating on the river" which is not okay to do.

Yesterday we were out on the boat with a bunch of neighbors, hanging out enjoying a nice Saturday afternoon, temps were high, so after lunch some of us jumped in the water and were hanging out listening to tunes and having a good time. Then a DC harbor patrol boat pulled up to us and told all of us we had to get out of the water, we questioned, and were told "no swimming allowed". That certainly put a downer on the day.

Now I have been boating on the Potomac for 10 years and have never had any such issues, except for this one Officer. We have been out playing in the water and had Coast Guard go by, have had other Harbor Patrol Officers go by, have had MD DNR go by, and never been stopped and told to get out of the water.

So just a word to the wise, apparently the Potomac isn't meant to be a fun day out/in the water :(

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That's very unfortunate.... hopefully that's not a new trend.

We were out by Three Sisters on Saturday from 1-5ish, floating around on tubes (as we do all the time). Were you in that group of 8-9 boats tied together? There were tons of people anchored out - I don't understand how they can target that...

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Wow, I've boated on and off on the Potomac since the early 90's and I've never heard of this before. Most of our boating is a little further south, but we ran up to Georgetown last Monday and last year we hung out in the water by 3 sister's for awhile.

Thanks for the heads up! I wonder the proper way to try to raise this up so that this officer's management knows about it and can maybe squelch it.

MIke

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We encourage everyone to safely recreate on the Potomac River. There are many myths floating around that the river is unsafe to swim in, but most of the time, the river is swimmable, but here are some tips to help you make safer choices when deciding to take a dip:

  • Don’t enter the water for several days after a significant rainstorm. Storm flows increase bacteria levels and therefore your chances of being exposed
  • If the water looks bad or filthy, and you can't see your feet at the bottom, you should probably stay out. Like the Potomac Riverkeeper Ed Merrifield says, why gamble with your health?
  • Wash thoroughly after swimming.
  • Don’t swallow water.
  • Don’t enter the water if you have cuts or open sores. These are pathways for bacteria to enter your body.
  • People with immuno-suppressive diseases, or generally poor health should avoid contact with the river.
  • Remember: swimming in the District waterways is illegal. The only exceptions are permitted triathlons.

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Same. I have been scolded once in 10 years and that was by MPD. I go up past Three Sisters and come right of the 70' water into about 20' and anchor there. Police almost never make the turn after Three Sisters and get up that far. No wake is a bit of a pain but its prettier up there anyway.

ALSO, be careful on the Wall in Georgetown. For most this is just common sense but I have seen folks get tickets: There is a Police Boat no parking sign on the left of the wall as you face it and they are very serious about folks not tying up there even for <5 min drop-off/pick-up.

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Look what fine work the MPD marine patrol division managed to pull off tonight. The officer power swung his RIB's hull into this docked pocket cruiser on the Wall. Along with a friend, I was first on the sinking boat while the coward MPD officer stood off about 200 yards from the scene that HE created. We checked the cabin as owner was not present. Subsequent wake from resopnse damaged a number of other boats and ripped a few rings off the wall. Ended up with a huge response but all around by responders and borderline negligence by the officer who hit this boat. Really an unbelievable scene.

http://i1294.photobucket.com/albums/b614/captscott3/5BEE989C-1035-4030-A448-FEC37A2767CC-3710-0000046F013DE60F_zps03e2df63.jpg

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Wow! We passed it coming back from hanging out on the sandbar, & were trying to figure out what happened. I can't believe it was a patrol boat that caused it! Nice to know our tax dollars will be covering that..... :-/

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On 8/17/2013 at 7:12 AM, Wingnut said:

We encourage everyone to safely recreate on the Potomac River. There are many myths floating around that the river is unsafe to swim in, but most of the time, the river is swimmable, but here are some tips to help you make safer choices when deciding to take a dip:

  • Don’t enter the water for several days after a significant rainstorm. Storm flows increase bacteria levels and therefore your chances of being exposed
  • If the water looks bad or filthy, and you can't see your feet at the bottom, you should probably stay out. Like the Potomac Riverkeeper Ed Merrifield says, why gamble with your health?
  • Wash thoroughly after swimming.
  • Don’t swallow water.
  • Don’t enter the water if you have cuts or open sores. These are pathways for bacteria to enter your body.
  • People with immuno-suppressive diseases, or generally poor health should avoid contact with the river.
  • Remember: swimming in the District waterways is illegal. The only exceptions are permitted triathlons.

Wingnut where is this from?    This seems to give you advice on swimming safely Or "recreate" safely. It even says "wash thoroughly after swimming"   but then says it's illegal?    Which state or city has jurisdiction on the Potomac?     

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On 9/2/2017 at 7:19 AM, Lewlam said:

 

I would be pissed!   I wonder if the officer was suspended?   

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DC has jurisdiction within it's boundaries, Maryland has jurisdiction along it's border to the Virginia side, and West Virginia has jurisdiction within their boundaries.  Virginia has some jurisdiction, in the bays within it's boundaries.  DCbiker published this to help others understand what the D.C. police were enforcing.  

Once outside the D.C. water, below D.C. and Alexandria, this rule does not apply.  Just above D.C. are Little and Great Falls where, on average, there are a few water incident deaths reported each year.  

The officer who sank the boat at the Georgetown Wall was removed from Marine Police Service after an investigation was completed.

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5 hours ago, Kwood92 said:

Wingnut where is this from?    This seems to give you advice on swimming safely Or "recreate" safely. It even says "wash thoroughly after swimming"   but then says it's illegal?    Which state or city has jurisdiction on the Potomac?     

no clue. not my post.  

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