Various State, Local and City Laws govern rowing in the United States. Below are excerpts from and links to the most pertinent for Hoover Reservoir.
Ohio Revised Code
1501:47-1-21 Display of tag pursuant to division (h) of section 1547.53 and division (C) of section 1547.57 of the Revised Code.
(A) The owner of a hand powered canoe, rowboat (including racing shells and rowing sculls), or inflatable watercraft for which a registration certificate is issued under section 1547.54 of the Revised Code and which is exempted from numbering under division (H) of section 1547.53 of the Revised Code shall securely affix the assigned tag to the vessel in a location that is visible under normal operating conditions in one of the following manners:
(1) On the transom, the tag should be affixed in the upper right corner of the transom and placed so that the tag does not interfere with the legibility of the hull identification number;
(2) On a deck on the rear half of the vessel;
(3) On the outside below the port side gunnel; or
(4) On the inside of the vessel on the upper portion of the starboard side gunnel so that it is visible from the port side of the vessel.
(B) The tag shall be securely affixed to the vessel prior to its operation, but shall be removed when it becomes invalid.
(C) No person shall operate or permit to be operated any vessel on the waters in this state in violation of this rule.
1501:47-1-22 Operation without personal flotation devices prohibited; exceptions.
In accordance with division (A) of section 1547.25 of the Revised Code, the following are exempted from section 1547.25 of the Revised Code:
(A) Racing shells and rowing sculls;
(B) Sailboards; and
(C) Those individual vessels that have been issued a written exemption by the chief of the division of parks and watercraft and would otherwise be exempt by the federal personal flotation device carriage requirements.
This ordinance provides a statewide exemption for rowing shells.
"Rowboat" means an open vessel, other than a paddle-craft, that is designed to be rowed and that is propelled by human muscular effort by oars and upon which no mechanical propulsion device, electric motor, internal combustion engine, or sail has been affixed or is used for the operation of the vessel. "Rowboat" includes a racing shell and a rowing skull regardless of length or construction.
City of Columbus Codified Codes
921.01 - Definitions
(1)"Canoe" means a narrow vessel of shallow draft, pointed at both ends and propelled by human muscular effort, and includes kayaks, racing shells, and rowing sculls.
(22)"Personal watercraft" means a vessel, less than sixteen (16) feet in length, that is propelled by machinery and designed to be operated by an individual sitting, standing, or kneeling on the vessel rather than by an individual sitting or standing inside the vessel. This bullet classifies our launches as personal watercraft as they are mostly 13'11" long.
921.01-1 - Vessel and operations on waterways.
(A)In all waterways of the city except Griggs, O'Shaughnessy and Hoover Reservoirs and the downtown Scioto River Pool or as otherwise authorized by this chapter, no person shall operate any vessel of: (1)Less than eight (8) feet or more than twenty-two (22) feet in length or, (2)Less than thirty-six (36) inches in beam or, (3)Less than fifty (50) pounds in weight, (4)More than ten (10) horsepower.
(B) - Canoes, kayaks, rowing shells, pedal boats and inflatable watercraft bearing a Hull Identification Number (HIN) recognized by the United States Coast Guard as vessels and watercraft are permitted and specifically exempted from the length, beam and weight requirements. This bullet excepts rowing shells from the beam, length, weight restrictions on any waterway. Note that rowing shell serial numbers stamped on the shells are recognized as the Hull Identification Number.
(E)No person shall swim or wade in any waterways of the city, except as a means of rescue, nor allow a minor, who is in custodial care, to swim or wade. This section shall not prohibit wading for the purpose of fishing. This bullet recognizes someone may be in the water as part of a rescue.
921.01-4 Vessel and operations in Hoover Reservoir
(A)Unless otherwise authorized by this chapter, no person shall operate in Hoover Reservoir any vessel of:(1)Less than eight (8) feet or more than twenty-two (22) feet except sailboats which may be up to twenty-five (25) feet in length.(2)Less than thirty-six (36) inches in beam or;(3)Less than fifty (50) pounds in weight or;(4)More than ten (10) horsepower or restricted thereto.
This ordinance establishes the 10 hp limit on Hoover.
(B)Exceptions:(1)Canoes, kayaks, rowing shells, pedal boats and inflatable watercraft bearing a Hull Identification Number (HIN) and recognized by the United States Coast Guard as vessels and watercraft are permitted and specifically exempted from the length, beam and weight requirements. This bullet excepts rowing shells from the beam, length, weight restrictions on any waterway. Note that rowing shell serial numbers stamped on the shells are recognized as the Hull Identification Number.
(C)The waterway north of the no boat buoys at the dam shall be open to boating at all times except for areas specifically exempted. Boating will not be permitted within one hundred (100) feet of the down-river side of the dam.
921.01-6 - Permits for special water events.
(A)No person or organization shall conduct any race, regatta, or other special event upon the waterways of the city without first obtaining written permission, upon application not less than thirty (30) days prior to the time of the proposed race, regatta, or event from the director of recreation and parks. The director of recreation and parks shall have the authority to direct the procedures of these scheduled events and, if necessary, prevent the operation of other boats in certain areas during the designated time of such event. The director of recreation and parks shall timely inform the chief of police of the approved scheduled event.
(B)Waterways of the city shall be open to all citizens on equal terms and none shall be given special privileges thereon, or be permitted to make use of the waterways of the city for any purpose not practically common to all, except, upon written application, when it is in the best interest of the city, the director of recreation and parks has the authority to issue permits for conduct on park property that may otherwise be in violation of this chapter, and to attach conditions to such permits.
(C)Nothing in this section shall be construed to mean that the operator of a vessel competing in a specially authorized race, regatta, or special event shall not attempt to attain high speeds on a marked racing course. Such events will provide for vessel operation on an hourly basis from non-affected areas.
(D)It shall be the duty of every person or organization claiming to have a permit for a special water event issued by the director of recreation and parks to produce and display such permit upon the request of any law enforcement officer or authorized city of Columbus official.
(Ord. 805-05 § 1 (part).)