Environment Committee

JOINT FAVORABLE REPORT

Bill No.:

SB-136

Title:

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

Vote Date:

3/4/2016

Vote Action:

16 to 12 Joint Favorable Substitute

PH Date:

2/24/2016

File No.:

SPONSORS OF BILL:

Environment Committee

REASONS FOR BILL:

As the use of jetted articulated vessels (JAVs) has dramatically increased, so have incidents of unsafe operation and of disturbance to others. The bill prohibits usage within 200 feet of a dock, shore or structure and in no-wake zones except to transit these zones. It authorizes fines for violations. In 2015 the precursor to this proposal, S.B. 868, passed the Senate but was not called in the House. Although some of the proposed language has been changed this year for the sake of clarity, this bill seeks to address the same concerns as those of its predecessor.

SUBSTITUTE LANGUAGE defines “Jetted Articulated Vessels” (JAVs) and restricts their usage to persons over 16 yrs. of age

RESPONSE FROM ADMINISTRATION/AGENCY:

Robert J. Klee, Commissioner, Dept. of Energy and Environmental Protection

The bill makes two overdue changes to existing statutes. It expands the definition of water skiing to include newer forms of the sport that do not make use of a line or tether (“wake riding,” etc). It also introduces operational safety rules for a popular but potentially dangerous emerging type of vessel, called Jetted Articulated Vessels (JAVs).

NATURE AND SOURCES OF SUPPORT:

John Elsesser, Town Manager, Coventry supports the safety measures in the bill but recommends further study of environmental impacts. (See below)

CHANGES RECOMMENDED: JAVS present not only safety concerns addressed in the bill but environmental ones that are not. He cites a study that identified potential effects related to the high velocity downward thrust of the jets which can stir up the bottom waters and soils. Conduct further studies to gauge the environmental impacts of microbes being carried from one body of water to another due to the portability of JAVs.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF OPPOSITION:

Reported by: Jane Dauphinais

3/8/2016