Connecticut Seal

General Assembly

 

Committee Bill No. 699

January Session, 2015

 

LCO No. 3904

 

*03904SB00699ENV*

Referred to Committee on ENVIRONMENT

 

Introduced by:

 

(ENV)

 

AN ACT ESTABLISHING A MINIMUM AGE FOR TOWING ANY PERSON BY VESSEL AND REQUIRING THE COMPLETION OF A SAFE TOWING COURSE PRIOR TO ENGAGING IN SUCH TOWING BY VESSEL.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. Section 15-140e of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2016):

(a) No resident of the state, person owning real property in the state or person owning a vessel in the state shall operate on the waters of the state a vessel which is required to be registered or numbered pursuant to this chapter unless such person has a valid vessel operator license issued by the United States Coast Guard or has obtained a safe boating certificate issued by the Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection. No owner of a vessel shall knowingly authorize or permit a person who is less than sixteen years of age who is required by this section to obtain a safe boating certificate issued by the Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection to operate such vessel on the waters of the state without a safe boating certificate, unless such person is under the direct onboard supervision of a person who is at least eighteen years of age who has been issued a safe boating certificate and who has held such certificate for at least two years. A safe boating certificate may be suspended or revoked, pursuant to section 15-132a, 15-133, 15-140l or 15-140n, and shall be valid for the life of the person to whom it is issued unless otherwise suspended or revoked. The provisions of this section shall not apply to any person who, between one hour before sunrise and one hour after sunset, operates a vessel propelled exclusively by an electric motor that is rated at one hundred six pounds of thrust or less on the inland waters of this state upon which motor powered vessels exceeding ten horsepower are prohibited.

(b) A safe boating certificate shall be issued under subsection (a) of this section to any applicant regardless of age who provides proof that such applicant has: (1) Successfully completed a course in safe boating operation approved by the Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection, which courses may include those offered by the United States Power Squadrons, Coast Guard Auxiliary or other organizations, or (2) successfully passed an equivalency examination testing knowledge of safe boating operation administered by the commissioner.

(c) Notwithstanding subsection (a) of this section, any person who purchases a new or used vessel may, upon vessel registration, apply to the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection for a temporary safe boating certificate which shall be valid for three months from the date of registration. No person shall be issued more than one temporary safe boating certificate.

(d) Any person operating a vessel other than a personal watercraft, as defined in section 15-140j, which is rented for a period of fourteen days or less from a boat livery need not obtain a certificate during the rental period. An owner, agent or employee of a boat livery shall furnish to each rental customer literature on safety and rules of navigation as supplied by the commissioner.

(e) Any person enrolled in a course in safe boating operation approved by the Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection may operate a vessel without a safe boating certificate when under the direct onboard supervision of a boating instructor holding a valid instructor number issued by the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

(f) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a) of this section, no resident of the state, person owning real property in the state or person owning a vessel in the state shall operate on the waters of the state a vessel that is required to be registered or numbered pursuant to this chapter and that is engaged in the towing, by line, of any person on any apparatus unless such resident or person: (1) Is not less than sixteen years of age, (2) has a valid vessel operator license issued by the United States Coast Guard or has obtained a safe boating certificate issued by the Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection, and (3) has a safe towing endorsement on such license or certificate that was issued by the Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection upon such resident's or person's completion of the safe towing course described in section 15-140f, as amended by this act. No owner of a vessel shall knowingly authorize or permit a person who is less than sixteen years of age to operate such vessel while engaged in the towing, by line, of any person on any apparatus on the waters of the state.

[(f)] (g) Any person who violates any provision of this section shall be fined not less than sixty or more than two hundred fifty dollars for each such violation.

[(g)] (h) Any course in safe boating operation approved by the Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection, as described in subsection (b) of this section, shall include instruction on the proper means of: (1) Inspecting a vessel and trailers used for transporting such vessels for the presence of vegetation and aquatic invasive species, as determined by the commissioner pursuant to subsection (a) of section 15-180; and (2) properly disposing of such vegetation and such aquatic invasive species.

Sec. 2. Section 15-140f of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective from passage):

(a) The Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection shall formulate courses in safe boating operation and a course in safe towing.

(b) (1) The commissioner shall adopt regulations, in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54, setting forth the content of safe boating operation courses. Such regulations may include provisions for examinations, issuance of safe boating certificates and establishment of reasonable fees for the course and examination and for issuing certificates, temporary certificates and duplicate certificates.

(2) Not later than October 1, 2016, the commissioner shall amend the regulations described in subdivision (1) of this subsection to set forth the content of the safe towing course. Such safe towing course shall include instruction on the safe operation of a vessel while engaged in the towing, by line, of any person on any apparatus. Such regulations shall include provisions for the issuance of a safe towing endorsement to be placed on an operator license issued by the United States Coast Guard or on a safe boating certificate, including, but not limited to, provisions for administering an examination on safe towing, revoking any such endorsement and establishing a reasonable fee for such safe towing course, examination and issuance of such endorsement.

(c) No person shall teach a course in safe boating operation that satisfies the requirements for issuance of a safe boating certificate or teach a course in safe towing that satisfies the requirements for issuance of a safe towing endorsement if the commissioner has not approved such course. Any safe towing course may be offered on-line.

(d) No Department of Energy and Environmental Protection employee or agent shall use Department of Energy and Environmental Protection safe boating course or safe towing course materials for personal gain.

(e) Any person who holds a certificate from another state that has a reciprocal agreement with the commissioner may operate a vessel on the waters of this state.

(f) Any person who violates any provision of this section shall be fined not less than sixty dollars or more than two hundred fifty dollars for each violation.

Sec. 3. Section 15-140h of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2016):

(a) No person less than twelve years of age shall operate a motor powered vessel exceeding ten horsepower unless accompanied on board by person at least eighteen years of age who has been issued a safe boating certificate.

(b) No person less than sixteen years of age shall operate on the waters of the state a vessel that is required to be registered or numbered pursuant to this chapter and that is engaged in the towing, by line, of any person on any apparatus.

This act shall take effect as follows and shall amend the following sections:

Section 1

October 1, 2016

15-140e

Sec. 2

from passage

15-140f

Sec. 3

October 1, 2016

15-140h

Statement of Purpose:

To establish "Emily's law" by creating safe towing by boat laws in Connecticut that will apply to the use of a vessel to tow any person, by line, on any apparatus.

[Proposed deletions are enclosed in brackets. Proposed additions are indicated by underline, except that when the entire text of a bill or resolution or a section of a bill or resolution is new, it is not underlined.]

Co-Sponsors:

SEN. FRANTZ, 36th Dist.; REP. FLOREN, 149th Dist.

REP. CAMILLO, 151st Dist.; REP. BOCCHINO, 150th Dist.

S.B. 699