PA 16-187—sSB 136

Environment Committee

Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee

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

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

The act 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.

The act also makes minor and technical changes.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

DEFINITIONS

The act defines a “JAV” as a watercraft with a base pumping unit 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.

JAV REQUIREMENTS

Under the act, a JAV operator must be at least age 16 and hold a certificate of personal watercraft operation (CPWO) issued by the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) (see BACKGROUND). The act prohibits JAV owners from knowingly allowing someone under age 16 who does not have a CPWO to operate a JAV. But for all PWCs, it allows the DEEP commissioner to modify or suspend the age requirement in writing for certain authorized marine events (e. g. , parades, exhibitions, and tournaments). Under existing law, he may already suspend or modify the CPWO requirement for marine events.

The act prohibits people from operating JAVs in a slow-no-wake area, except to transit the area, unless the commissioner allows the operation for a marine event. It also prohibits 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.

WATER SKIING

Under the act, “water skiing” includes towing someone behind a vessel under power, 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.

Under existing law, among other restrictions, no one may:

1. operate a motorboat towing a water skier unless a responsible person at least age 12 is on board assisting the operator and observing the water skier's progress,

2. water ski or operate a motorboat engaged in water skiing anywhere that water skiing is prohibited or in a way that strikes or threatens to strike another person or vessel, or

3. water ski from one-half hour after sunset to sunrise or when weather conditions limit visibility to less than 100 yards (CGS 15-134).

BACKGROUND

Obtaining a CPWO

To obtain a CPWO from DEEP, an applicant must do one of the following:

1. complete a course on safe boating operation and safe PWC handling approved by the DEEP commissioner,

2. meet the requirements for a safe boating certificate and complete a safe PWC handling course approved by the commissioner, or

3. pass an equivalency examination administered by the commissioner testing the applicant's knowledge of safe boating operation and safe PWC handling (CGS 15-140j(c)).

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