Boat Patrol

Boat patrol
Sheriff's Boat Patrol
Sutter County Sheriff's Office has a fully operational boat patrol unit presently comprised of a sergeant, two to four deputies, and several reserves. The unit is responsible for the public's safe enjoyment of its 187 miles of waterways in or bordering the county year round. These waterways include the Sacramento River, Feather River, and Sutter by-pass canal system.

Some of the unit's responsibilities include enforcement of boating laws and regulations, assistance to stranded boaters, inspection of vessels for proper equipment, supervision of organized water events, search and rescue operations, recovery of drowning victims, investigation of boating accidents, and boating safety presentations, and evacuation of citizens in flood conditions.

Several boats and crafts of various sizes and designs are used to accomplish the unit's mission. The unit will also summon the surrounding counties for mutual aid from their sheriff's boat patrol units if the need arises.

If you would like to have a boating safety or water safety presentation, please contact Sergeant Glen Mercer through our contact form or telephone (530) 822-7307.

Common Boating Violations

Children

Children under 13 years old must wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved Type I, II, III or V life jacket when on a moving boat that’s 26 feet in length or less. The life jacket must be of proper size and fit for the child.

Personal Flotation Device (PFD), commonly known as "Life Jackets"

Vessels less than 16 feet in length must have one Type I, II, III, or V Coast Guard-approved life jacket onboard the vessel for each person. They must be readily accessible, good condition and of an appropriate size for the intended wearer.

Vessels 16 feet to less than 26 feet in length must have one Type I, II, III, or V Coast Guard-approved life jacket onboard the vessel for each person. They must be readily accessible, good condition and of an appropriate size for the intended wearer. In addition, the vessel must carry an approved Type IV throwable device which should be immediately available (canoes and kayaks are exempt from the Type IV device).

Personal Watercraft (PWC), commonly known as "Jet Skis"

  • Everyone on a personal watercraft must wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved Type I, II, III or V life jacket.
  • Lanyard-every PWC must be equipped with a lanyard cutoff switch which is attached to his or her person during operation.
  • Nighttime Operation Prohibited-The law prohibits the operation of PWC at any time from sunset to sunrise, even if the PWC is equipped with navigational lights.
  • Reasonable and Prudent Operation-California law holds that no person shall operate any craft in a reckless or negligent manner so as to endanger any person. Some examples are:
    • Jumping or attempting to jump the wake of another vessel within 100 feet of the other vessel.
    • Turning sharply towards any person or vessel in the water in an attempt to spray the person.
    • Operating at a rate of speed and proximity to another vessel so that either operator is required to swerve to avoid a collision.

Reckless or Negligent Operation of a Vessel

  • No person shall operate any vessel or manipulate any water skis, aquaplane or similar device in a reckless or negligent manner. Examples of such operation include, but are not limited to:
    • Riding on the bow(front), gunwale(side), or transom(rear) of a vessel underway, propelled by machinery, when such position is not protected by railing or other reasonable deterrent to falling overboard.
    • Operating under the influence of intoxicants or narcotics. Alcohol is a factor in 49% of all fatal motorboat accidents in California. Persons 21 years of age or older shall not operate any vessel, water skis or similar device with .08% or more, by weight, of alcohol in their blood. Persons 21 years of age or younger shall not operate any vessel, water skis or similar device with .01% or more, by weight, of alcohol in their blood.
    • Speeding in confined or restricted areas, within 100 feet of a bather (not a water skier) or within 200 feet of a bathing beach, swimming float or dock where boats are tied up.
    • "Buzzing" or "wetting down" others

For more information on boating and water safety, please contact Sergeant Glen Mercer using our contact form or telephone (530) 822-7307.

Assisting stranded boaters
Assisting stranded boaters
Patroling the river
Patroling the river