Talk Your Way Out of a Ticket
Blame the Kids
Some areas of the country have a confusing array of no-wake and restricted speed zones. You may be on plane thinking “Am I 200 feet from shore?” when suddenly the flashing blue lights appear behind you and you are at the mercy of a water cop. If you have kids on board, claim a broken head and a desperate need for relief at the marina. The wife should also start crying, because conventional wisdom states that a few tears are the best way to garner a warning.
With no kids on board, your best bet might be the oldest of tactics: Act confused, saying “Sorry, officer. I thought I was out of the no-wake zone” or “Isn’t that only during manatee season? It’s manatee season? I had no idea!” The actual rule of the road, which the cop might gladly share with you, is that ignorance of the law is no excuse. But sometimes, if you seem nice but just dumb or naive enough, and also earnest enough, the cop just might give you a warning.
There’s nothing wrong with contrition, and the admission that you made a mistake. You could say, yes, you were speeding, or yes, your flares are expired or you forgot your throwable device. Some officers of the law will appreciate your honesty. And if you play off your candor with a healthy dose of regret, you might get off with a warning and a reminder to slow down and pay attention to the posted signs. (We should all be mindful of no-wake zones anyway.)
Silence is Golden
Never forget the power of silence, that massively disconcerting pause that goes on and on and may at last induce an opponent to babble and backtrack nervously. — Lance Morrow