Topic:
BOATS; BOATING; ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION DEPARTMENT; NOISE CONTROL;
Location:
BOATS AND BOATING; POLLUTION - NOISE;
Scope:
Connecticut laws/regulations;

OLR Research Report


July 9, 2002

 

2002-R-0633

STATE REGULATION OF MOTORBOAT NOISE

 

By: Joseph R. Holstead, Research Analyst

You asked if the state regulates motorboat noise levels.

SUMMARY

The state sets acceptable noise levels for, and requires mufflers on, motorboats (CGS 15-129b – m). Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), state, municipal, and lake police can enforce the noise limits.

MOTORBOAT NOISE LEVELS

DEP determined acceptable noise or decibel (dB(A)) levels based on American Society of Automotive Engineers' national standards. Manufacturers meet these standards in producing motors.

Stationary levels

Stationary motorboat noise cannot exceed:

1. 90 dB(A), for engines manufactured before January 1, 1993;

2. 88 dB(A), for engines manufactured on or after January 1, 1993; and

3. these allowable noise levels when equipped with more than one engine, which must operate simultaneously when tested (CGS 15-129c).

Violators are fined between $100 and $500.

Moving levels

The noise level for a moving motorboat cannot exceed 75 dB(A) (CGS 15129d). Violators are fined between $100 and $500.

Enforcement

DEP, state, municipal, and lake police officers may check the decibel level of a motorboat. But enforcement is difficult due (1) to manpower limitations and (2) the process for testing decibel levels. The process requires officers to board a vessel and have the suspected boater drive his boat past a testing officer two times at a prearranged point, according to Tom Tyler, DEP legislative liaison.

Tyler noted that DEP's use of the national manufacturing standard means that excessive motorboat noise levels are likely due to a boater having removed a muffler or a mechanical problem. Boaters sometimes remove mufflers to improve engine performance. Removed mufflers can be reattached in minutes, said Tyler, which can also make enforcement difficult. Operating a motorboat without a muffler is an infraction that results in a fine based on fees, surcharges, and other special assessments.

The frequency of DEP testing for motorboat noise level violations was not immediately available. We will forward any information when it is available.

Attachment 1 is a copy of (CGS 15-129a-m).

JRH:ro