Connecticut Seal

General Assembly

File No. 124

    February Session, 2016

Substitute Senate Bill No. 136

Senate, March 22, 2016

The Committee on Environment reported through SEN. KENNEDY of the 12th Dist., Chairperson of the Committee on the part of the Senate, that the substitute bill ought to pass.

AN ACT REGULATING THE USE OF JETTED ARTICULATED VESSELS AND CERTAIN WATER SKIING DEVICES.

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

Section 1. Section 15-127 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective from passage):

As used in this part unless the context otherwise requires: "Commissioner" means the Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection; "federal waters" means the navigable waters of the United States within the territorial limits of the state; "state waters" means all waters within the territorial limits of the state except federal waters; "vessel" means every description of watercraft, other than a seaplane on water, used or capable of being used as a means of transportation on water; "motorboat" means any vessel, not more than sixty-five feet in length and propelled by machinery, whether or not such machinery is the principal source of propulsion; "sailboat" means any vessel propelled by sail alone; "sailboard" means any sailboat whose unsupported mast is connected by a swivel or a flexible universal joint to a hull similar to the hull of a surfboard; ["water-skiing"] "water skiing" includes [aquaplaning,] towing of any person behind a vessel under power, whether such person is connected by a towing line to such vessel or not, and similar forms of activity in which a passenger exits a vessel and uses the suction or wake of the underway vessel to engage in the activity; "operate" means to navigate or otherwise use a vessel; a vessel is "under way" when it is not moored, anchored, made fast to the shore or aground; "person" means any individual, partnership, firm, association, limited liability company, corporation or other entity; "town" includes city, town, borough and any other political subdivision of the state; "masthead light" means a white light placed over the fore and aft centerline of the vessel aft of and higher than the side lights and forward of the stern light showing an unbroken light over an arc of the horizon of 225 degrees and so fixed as to show the light from right ahead to 22.5 degrees abaft the beam on either side of the vessel; "side light" means a green light on the starboard side or a red light on the port side, placed forward of the stern light and as near as practicable to the bow of the vessel, each showing an unbroken light over an arc of the horizon of 112.5 degrees and so fixed as to show the light from right ahead to 22.5 degrees abaft the beam on its respective side, except that on a vessel of less than twenty meters in length the side lights may be combined in one lantern carried on the fore and aft centerline of the vessel; "stern light" means a white light placed as near as practicable to the stern showing an unbroken light over an arc of the horizon of 135 degrees and so fixed as to show the light 67.5 degrees from right aft on each side of the vessel; "all-around light" means a light showing an unbroken light over an arc of the horizon 360 degrees; "anchor light" means an all-around white light exhibited forward and displayed where it can best be seen; [and] "international regulations" means the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, 1972, including annexes currently in force for the United States; and "jetted articulated vessel" or "JAV" means any vessel that consists of a base pumping unit used to generate water or other media under pressure, an articulated hose used to convey media under pressure or a jointed or flexible conduit used to convey such media and a device through which high-pressure media is ejected for the purpose of propelling, elevating or submerging an operator or passenger.

Sec. 2. Section 15-134 of the 2016 supplement to the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective from passage):

(a) In addition to the requirements of section 15-140e concerning water skiing, no person shall:

(1) Operate a motorboat towing a water skier unless there is present in such motorboat, in addition to the operator, a responsible person at least twelve years of age assisting the operator and observing the progress of such water skier;

(2) Engage in water skiing and no person shall operate a motorboat towing a person so engaged on any water area on which water skiing is prohibited;

(3) Engage in water skiing from one-half hour after sunset until sunrise or when weather conditions restrict normal visibility to less than one hundred yards; [and]

(4) Engage in water skiing in such manner as to strike or threaten to strike any person or vessel and no person shall operate a motorboat or manipulate a tow line or other towing device in such manner as to cause a water skier to strike or threaten to strike another person or vessel;

(5) Operate a vessel when the number of persons on board such vessel that is towing one or more water skiers, added together with the number of water skiers, exceeds the persons carrying capacity of such vessel, as indicated by the capacity label affixed to such vessel by the manufacturer; and

(6) Operate a vessel engaged in water skiing such that the wake associated with such vessel creates an injury to any person or damage to any vessel or structure.

(b) The commissioner may modify or suspend the provisions of this section in respect to any person performing or competing in a bona fide race, regatta, water carnival or similar public event.

(c) (1) No individual, municipality, association or corporation shall place or cause to be placed on the waters of this state any marked course or jump ramp for use by any water skier or vessel without written authorization of the commissioner except on lakes or ponds owned by, and whose access is entirely under the control of, private landowners or lessees who all agree to the establishment of such course or ramp. On and after October 1, 1993, no new authorization shall be granted on any body of water with a surface area less than one hundred acres. Application for authorization shall be made on forms provided by the commissioner and shall be accompanied by: (A) A detailed map showing the proposed location of such marked course or jump ramp, (B) a detailed diagram of the proposed course markers or jump ramp, and (C) a detailed statement addressing the safety and environmental impact of such proposal.

(2) The commissioner shall hold an informational meeting in the town or one of the towns in which authorization is sought, giving all towns involved and all interested persons an opportunity to present their views regarding the proposed marked course or jump ramp. Any such informational meeting shall not be deemed to be a hearing under the provisions of chapter 54. Prior to issuing or denying such authorization the commissioner shall consider: (A) The completeness, accuracy and detail of the application, (B) public safety, (C) any environmental impacts directly related to the proposed marked course or jump ramp, and (D) the possible conflicts with other water uses.

(3) Any authorization issued by the commissioner pursuant to this subsection may contain such conditions as the commissioner deems necessary to safeguard public safety, welfare or the environment.

Sec. 3. Section 15-140j of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective from passage):

(a) As used in this section, "personal watercraft" is any inboard powered vessel less than sixteen feet in length [which] that has an internal combustion engine powering a water-jet pump as its primary source of motor propulsion and [which] that is designed to be operated by a person sitting, standing or kneeling on the vessel, rather than the conventional manner of sitting or standing inside the vessel, "jetted articulated vessel" or "JAV" has the same meaning as provided in section 15-127, as amended by this act, and "operator of a JAV" means any person who, in whole or in part, from such person's position on the JAV can: (1) Energize or de-energize the JAV, or (2) control or partially control the thrust, speed or direction of the JAV.

(b) No person shall operate a personal watercraft or a JAV unless such person has been issued a certificate of personal watercraft operation by the Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection. No person less than sixteen years of age shall operate a JAV. No owner of a personal watercraft or a JAV shall knowingly authorize or permit a person who is less than sixteen years of age who does not have a certificate of personal watercraft operation issued by the commissioner to operate such personal watercraft or JAV on the waters of the state. Notwithstanding the provisions of this section, the commissioner may modify or suspend, [requirements for a certificate of personal watercraft operation by written authorization with respect to any marine event authorized by the commissioner or upon receipt of] by written permission, any age or certification requirement set forth in this section for the purpose of a marine event held pursuant to section 15-140b. In those waters where the United States Coast Guard has jurisdiction over marine events, such permit shall not be valid unless and until the commissioner receives a copy of the United States Coast Guard authorization for a marine event.

(c) A certificate of personal watercraft operation shall be issued under subsection (b) of this section to any applicant who provides proof that such applicant has: (1) Successfully completed a combined course in safe boating operation and safe personal watercraft handling approved by the commissioner, which courses include, but are not limited to, courses offered by the United States Power Squadrons, Coast Guard Auxiliary or other similar organization, (2) been issued or has satisfied the requirements for issuance of a safe boating certificate and successfully completed a course in safe personal watercraft handling approved by the commissioner, which include, but are not limited to, courses offered by the United States Power Squadrons, Coast Guard Auxiliary or other similar organization, or (3) successfully passed an equivalency examination testing knowledge of safe boating operation and safe personal watercraft handling administered by the commissioner.

(d) The commissioner may adopt regulations, in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54, establishing the content of courses in safe personal watercraft handling. Such regulations may include provisions for examinations, issuance of certificates of personal watercraft operation and establishment of a reasonable fee for such course and examination and for the issuance of a certificate and duplicate certificate.

(e) Notwithstanding subsection (b) of this section, any person who purchases a new or used personal watercraft may, upon vessel registration, apply to the Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection for a temporary certificate of personal watercraft operation [which] that shall be valid for three months from the date of registration, provided the applicant has successfully completed a course in safe personal watercraft handling prior to application for the temporary certificate. No person shall be issued more than one temporary certificate of personal watercraft operation.

(f) The commissioner may enter into a reciprocal agreement with any other state [which] that has a similar safe personal watercraft handling certificate program [which] that the commissioner deems acceptable for purposes of this subsection. Any person who successfully completes a course in safe personal watercraft handling and holds a certificate or license from another state [which] that has such a reciprocal agreement with the commissioner may operate a personal watercraft on the waters of this state.

(g) Any person required to obtain a certificate of personal watercraft operation pursuant to this section shall have such certificate on board at all times while operating a personal watercraft. On demand of an officer authorized to enforce the provisions of this chapter, such person shall exhibit the certificate to the officer.

(h) No passenger shall be permitted to ride in front of the operator on a personal watercraft. No passenger shall be permitted to ride upon a personal watercraft unless the passenger is able to securely hold onto the person in front of them or to the handholds on the personal watercraft, and is able to keep both feet on the deck of the personal watercraft so as to maintain balance while the personal watercraft is in operation.

(i) Unless otherwise authorized by the commissioner pursuant to section 15-140b, no person shall operate a JAV in any slow-no-wake area except to transit such slow-no-wake area. No person shall operate a JAV within two hundred feet of any dock, shore, pier or fixed structure or within one hundred feet of any vessel except to directly transit the area of such dock, shore, pier, fixed structure or vessel.

[(i)] (j) No person shall teach a course in safe personal watercraft handling that satisfies the requirements for issuance of a certificate of personal watercraft operation unless the commissioner has approved such course.

[(j)] (k) No Department of Energy and Environmental Protection agent or employee shall use department safe personal watercraft handling course materials for personal financial gain.

[(k)] (l) 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 such violation.

[(l)] (m) A certificate of personal watercraft operation may be suspended or revoked in accordance with the provisions of section 15-132a, 15-133, 15-140l or 15-140n.

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

Section 1

from passage

15-127

Sec. 2

from passage

15-134

Sec. 3

from passage

15-140j

ENV

Joint Favorable Subst.

 

The following Fiscal Impact Statement and Bill Analysis are prepared for the benefit of the members of the General Assembly, solely for purposes of information, summarization and explanation and do not represent the intent of the General Assembly or either chamber thereof for any purpose. In general, fiscal impacts are based upon a variety of informational sources, including the analyst's professional knowledge. Whenever applicable, agency data is consulted as part of the analysis, however final products do not necessarily reflect an assessment from any specific department.

OFA Fiscal Note

State Impact:

Agency Affected

Fund-Effect

FY 17 $

FY 18 $

Department of Energy and Environmental Protection

GF - Potential Revenue Gain

Under 1,000

Under 1,000

Note: GF=General Fund

Municipal Impact: None

Explanation

The bill (1) extends the definition of water skiing to include watersports performed behind a vessel regardless of tethering, (2) establishes that the aggregate number of water skiers and vessel occupants cannot exceed the boat's specified carrying capacity, and (3) establishes new requirements for operators and passengers of jetted articulated vehicles (JAVs).

Any revenue generated from violations of these new and expanded watercraft provisions is anticipated to generate less than $1,000 annually. In FY 14 and FY 15, violations of personal watercraft operation generated an average of $3,865 in revenue.

The Out Years

The annualized ongoing fiscal impact identified above would continue into the future subject to the number of violations.

OLR Bill Analysis

sSB 136

AN ACT REGULATING THE USE OF JETTED ARTICULATED VESSELS AND CERTAIN WATER SKIING DEVICES.

SUMMARY:

This bill establishes requirements for operators of jetted articulated vessels (JAVs) similar to the requirements for operators of personal watercraft (PWC, e.g., jet skis). Violators of the requirements are subject to a $60 to $250 fine for each violation.

The bill defines a JAV as a watercraft with a base pumping unit – often a modified PWC – that uses an articulated hose or jointed or flexible conduit to convey water or other media under pressure through a device that ejects the high-pressure media to propel, elevate, or submerge the operator or passenger. A JAV operator includes anyone on the JAV who can energize or de-energize it or control its thrust, speed, or direction.

Under the bill, in order to operate a JAV, a person must be at least age 16 and hold a certificate of personal watercraft operation (CPWO) (see BACKGROUND). The bill prohibits a JAV owner from knowingly allowing someone under age 16 without a CPWO to operate a JAV. But it allows the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) commissioner to modify or suspend the age requirement in writing for certain authorized marine events (e.g., parades, exhibitions, tournaments). By law, he may already suspend or modify the CPWO requirement for marine events.

The bill prohibits a person from operating a JAV in a slow-no-wake area except to transit the area, unless the DEEP commissioner allows it for a marine event. It also prohibits a person from operating a JAV within 200 feet of a dock, shore, pier, or fixed structure or within 100 feet of any vessel, except to transit the area.

The bill also extends the definition of water skiing to include watersports performed behind a vessel whether or not the person is connected by a towing line to the vessel (e.g., wake surfing). By doing so, it subjects such watersport participants to existing water skiing requirements (see below). The bill prohibits a person from operating a vessel engaged in water skiing (1) in a way that causes wakes to damage or injure property or people or (2) if the aggregate number of water skiers and vessel occupants exceeds the vessel manufacturer's specified carrying capacity.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

WATER SKIING

Under the bill, “water skiing” includes towing someone behind a vessel, whether or not the person is connected to the vessel by a towing line, and similar activities in which a passenger exits the vessel and uses the vessel's suction or wake to engage in the activity.

By law, no one may:

BACKGROUND

Obtaining a CPWO

To obtain a CPWO from DEEP, an applicant must:

COMMITTEE ACTION

Environment Committee

Joint Favorable Substitute

Yea

16

Nay

12

(03/04/2016)

TOP