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Things to Do - Boating

Service

A full-service marina carries full lines of boats, motors and marine accessories to serve the recreational needs of boaters in the twin lakes area. Tall Timbers Marina has two lakefront locations; one on Lake Freeman and one on Lake Shafer. Both stores offer an extensive selection of boats which include Regal, Caravelle and Godfrey Marine's; Sanpan, Aqua Patio and Sweetwater pontoons. The store also carries J.C. Mfg., Tritoon, Suntoon and Neptoon series pontoons; Mastercraft, Supra and Moomba ski boats. Other brand name lines include Stratos, Javelin, Bass America and Smoker Craft bass boats; Polarkraft and War Eagle jon boats. The store also carries Yamaha water vehicles, as well as Hurricane deck boats. The main Tall Timbers store on Lake Freeman is located east of the Washington Street Bridge (U.S. 24) in downtown Monticello. Summer store hours are 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. everyday. This location can be reached at (574)583-9628. Additionally, Tall Timbers carries a complete selection of boating accessories from O'Brien ski gloves, ski ropes, water skis, tubes, kneeboards, wakeboards, and Barefoot International Gear. Tall Timbers' second convenient location is on Lake Shafer at Big Monon Creek on West Shafer Drive a few miles north of Monticello. Summer store hours at this location are from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., daily. In addition to boats and marine accessories, the Lake Shafer store features a full line of men's and women's swimwear, plus women's summer sportswear. Six factory-trained and certified mechanics are on duty during the summer. All parts and service work is done at the Lake Shafer location from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. daily. This Lake Shafer location can be reached at (574)583-7272. Gas pumps are also open from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. daily

State Regulations

Indiana law requires anyone operating a boat or personal watercraft to have a valid driver's license. Personal watercrafts include one, two or three-person vehicles such as Waverunners and Jetskis.

Individuals age 15 or older can drive on the water with a state identification card and proof of completion of an approved boating education course. Individuals 21 years old or older who don't have a valid driver's license drive on the water with a state identification card issued before Jan. 1, 1996.

It is unlawful in Indiana to operate a boat with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent or higher.
The law also provides "implied consent," which means if an officer suspects and individual has been drinking, that person must submit to a breath test. Refusal to take the breath test means driving privileges can be restricted for up to one year.

All boats must be equipped with on U.S. Coast Guard approved personal flotation device (PFD) for each person on board. Many stores sell flotation devices that look like Coast Guard approved PFD's but are only imitations. Such imitations will not be approved if a boater is stopped by a conservation officer.

Skiing in Indiana requires three people. The driver of the boat is in charge of looking ahead and being alert for dangers. The observer keeps and eye on the skier and the skier makes three.

On Lakes Shafer and Freeman, boats traveling faster than 10 miles an hour must stay at least 50 feet from shore. The skier is considered part of the boat and must also stay at least 50 feet from shore.

It is unlawful to ride on the bow deck of boats less than 21 feet long, and it is unlawful to ride on the gunwales of any size boat.

After official sunset, any boat less thatn 15 horsepower must have a white stern light that is visible3 for two miles. Larger boats must have a white stern light and the port side while the green is on the starboard.

From the Norway Dam downriver to Holiday Resort, just below that Washington Street Bridge, boats may not exceed 5 miles an hour. From Holiday Resort to near buoys, but cannot exceed 5 mph between the buoys and the shore. The pulling of sleds, tubes of skiers is prohibited in this area.

The speed limit for all of the Big Monon has been reduced o 5 miles an hour.

Boat drivers are responsible for any damage caused by the wake of their boat. Anyone who sees damage caused by a boat should try to get the boat's registration number and a description of the driver. The person should then contact the White County Communication Center at (574)583-7103.

Boaters should not exceed 10 mph between sunset and sunrise. Sunrise and sunset are official times, and boaters should be aware of when they are.

People-powered boats, such as rowboats and sailboats, have the right-of-way over boats with motors unless the powerboat is dead in the water or the people powered boat is the overtaking vessel.

On Lake Freeman, the Madam Carroll, a large pleasure excursion boat, always has the right of way. In addition, all other boats should stay at least 100 feet from the Madam Carroll at all times.


Boating: State Laws

The last changing of the boat registration laws was in 1990. Then the General Assembly initiated a new registration and new schedule of excise taxes pertaining to motorboats and sailboats. Prior to 1990, all watercraft were registered, titled and taxed as personal property by the county treasurer. The property tax was eliminated and replaced by an annual excise tax. The responsibility for registration and collection of fees and taxes also shifted to the local license branch of the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles in 1990.

The White County license branch is located at 820 W. Fisher St., in Monticello. It's phone number is 583-5971.

Indiana State law requires all Hoosier boat owners and out-of-state visitors operating or storing boats here to register them in Indiana
.
A 1997 state law requires that any boat owner that owns or rents dock space for more than 30 days must register their boat in Indiana as well.

Boat's excise tax is determined by the age and value of the watercraft.

If the boat is already registered in Indiana, the boat owner is required to annually renew the boat's excise tax decal before the old decal expires. Decal renewals are made at the local license branch during the same month vehicle registrations are renewed.

Payment of an annual $5 Department of Natural Resources fee, plus a $5 Lake Enhancement fee and the appropriate excise tax is required to renew the registration and to obtain a current decal.

The initial registration fee, following purchase or transfer of ownership, is now based on the length of the boat. Initial registration fees for motorboats and sailboats range from $15 to $25, depending on the length.

Excise tax:

The amount of the excise tax depends on the age and value of the watercraft when it was new, according to the current boat class tax schedule. The amount of the excise tax can be obtained at the vehicle license branch.

Motorboat and sailboat excise taxes range from $2 to $500, depending on the boat's class. The excise tax is reduced by 5 percent for each year after the boat was manufactured, but the reduction will never exceed 50 percent of the boat's original tax value.

The excise tax for stored motorboats and sailboats is $12 annually.

HINs:

To begin the registration process for boats valued at more than $3,000 when new, the owner must have a valid Hull identification Number (HIN).

A HIN is not required on boats valued at less than $3,000 when new. When there is no visible HIN, payment of an additional $6.50 fee is required to obtain one at the local license branch.

If there is no visible HIN, a local police officer or conservation officer from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources must inspect the the boat and verify that there is no HIN. (Watercraft manufactured after 1984, however, can be verified only by a conservation officer.) A photograph of the watercraft (side view) with a legible registration number also is required, if applicable.

Proof of ownership documents also are required to obtain an HIN. These include: a bill of sale, and out-of-state title, or a manufacture's statement of origin.

Boat owners will then receiver in the mail a "Certificate of Hull Identification Number."

Instructions which accompany the HIN certificate require the owner to engrave the number on the hull of the boat and to obtain another police check to verify the engraving.

The final step is to return to the license branch with the HIN certificate and an "Affirmation of Police Officer" document and apply for title and registration.

Once and HIN has been obtained, engraved and verified, owners must apply for a title within 31 days of the purchase or transfer of the watercraft.

All boats acquired since 1986 must have Indiana titles, unless the boat's value when new was less than $3,000. Boats valued at less than $3,000 when new are not required to be titled.

If the boat was titled in Indiana when purchased or ownership was transferred, the old title must be up-dated and notarized. The title fee is $9.

Proof of ownership also is required to title a boat valued at more than $3,000 when new, if not currently titled.
Documentation must include a bill of sale which includes: the purchase price of the boat and motor; name of purchaser; date of purchase; the watercraft make, model, length, year and HIN; and the seller's signature.

Additional information-or questions on boating regulations - can be obtained from the license branch or from Indiana Conservation Officers in this area.


Launch Guidelines

Launching a boat in Lake Shafer or Lake Freeman is a relatively simple job. But before backing the trailer down a ramp, a few commonsense rules should be followed. Make sure the drain plug is in (then check it again), tilt the motor up and unplug the trailer lights. Then check out the launching ramp. Make sure that the ramp extends smoothly into deeper water; look for obstacles, holes or sharp drop offs that might "catch" trailer wheels. When ready to proceed, pull into position and using your partner's guidance and rear-view mirrors, back carefully toward the ramp. Remember, when backing, that the stern of the boat will move the opposite direction of the tow vehicle's steering wheel. If the wheels turn right, the stern will go left. If driving a boat off the trailer, your partner should climb aboard while the rig is stopped on the ramp. The safety straps and bow line should be disconnected, and the trailer should be eased into the water until the boat floats. Trim the engine down before starting. The operator should slowly back off the trailer. Move as quickly as possible while on the ramp. Once launched, move away from the ramp area so others can utilize the facilities

 

 

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