Connecticut Seal

General Assembly

 

Substitute Bill No. 699

    January Session, 2015

 

*_____SB00699ENV___032315____*

AN ACT ESTABLISHING A MINIMUM AGE FOR TOWING ANY PERSON BY VESSEL AND REQUIRING THE COMPLETION OF SAFE TOWING INSTRUCTION PRIOR TO THE ISSUANCE OF A SAFE BOATING CERTIFICATE.

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 Section 15-140e of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2015):

(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, or otherwise, 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 instruction described in section 15-140f, as amended by this act. The requirements of subdivision (3) of this subsection shall not apply to any resident or person who, on or before the effective date of this section, received a valid vessel operator license issued by the United States Coast Guard or obtained a safe boating certificate issued by the commissioner, provided any such resident or person may acquire information on the safe operation of a vessel while engaged in such towing from the online instruction in safe towing made available by the commissioner pursuant to 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, or otherwise, on the waters of the state. Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to prohibit the towing of a person or a vessel during the course of an emergency that poses a threat to human life or property.

[(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. Subsection (b) of section 15-140f of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective from passage):

(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, 2015, the commissioner shall amend the regulations described in subdivision (1) of this subsection to set forth the content for instruction on safe towing which shall be part of the course in safe boating operation. Such safe towing content shall include instruction on the safe operation of a vessel while engaged in the towing, by line, of any person on any apparatus, or otherwise. 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 including safe towing questions in the safe boating certificate examination and revoking any such endorsement. The commissioner shall make available on the department's Internet web site online instruction in safe towing that provides equivalent instruction on safe towing to such safe towing instruction provided as part of the course in safe boating operation and that is intended for any resident or person who, prior to the effective date of this section, received a vessel operator license issued by the United States Coast Guard or obtained a safe boating certificate issued by the commissioner.

Sec. 3. Section 15-140h of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2015):

(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 or otherwise.

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

Section 1

October 1, 2015

15-140e

Sec. 2

from passage

15-140f(b)

Sec. 3

October 1, 2015

15-140h

ENV

Joint Favorable Subst.