Territorial Boating Waters
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Dec 20, 2023 - Territorial boating waters can be defined as navigable bodies of water that fall within the sole jurisdiction of a sovereign country. In addition to inland waters, this includes harbors, rivers, deltas and open seas that extend a certain distance from the coastal baseline. This has now been extended under accepted maritime conventions to 12 nautical miles. Territorial waters are also subject to transboundary, contiguous and economic zoning rules. Alternate terms for territorial waters may include territorial sea, jurisdictional waters and foreign waters.
Exclusive Economic Zone
Exclusive economic zones (EEZ) (WikiLinks) which typically extend up to 200 nautical miles beyond a coastal baseline are a factor for commercial transits. An EEZ is the area where special rights are conferred upon the respective country with regard to fishing, drilling, and other commercial or economic activities.
Under maritime conventions, some countries may clam what is known as a contiguous zone where jurisdictional enforcements are extended up to 24 nautical miles.
Territorial jurisdictions may be further impacted by what are known as transboundary waters. This occurs where certain countries share a body of water in close proximity to each other. In these cases, there is a demarcation line where the territorial rights of one country ends and the other begins. Although the division is typically equitable, this may not always be the case and territorial disputes are not uncommon.
Rights of Passage
According to international protocols, boats and ships whether military or civilian, are typically allowed what is known as an innocent passage through territorial waters. However, this must occur under the usual course of transit while in the absence of hostile intent.
Rights of Pursuit
Under maritime conventions, a sovereign country may exercise rights of imminent pursuit into international waters for occurrences initiated within its territorial waters, economic zone and contiguous zone.
Adherence to conventions, rules and regulations when boating in territorial waters is serious business. Violations can result in costly fines, impoundment, forfeiture and perhaps even incarceration. Boaters should become well versed in the requirements applicable to any type of boating waters they may encounter.
Credits and References
Dec 20, 2023 - Page revised.
Jul 20, 2022 - Page initiated.