GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF NORTH CAROLINA
SESSION LAW 2009-282
SENATE BILL 43
AN ACT TO IMPROVE BOATING SAFETY BY REQUIRING BOATING SAFETY EDUCATION PRIOR TO OPERATING A VESSEL WITH A MOTOR OF TEN HORSEPOWER OR GREATER, AS RECOMMENDED BY THE JOINT SELECT COMMITTEE ON MANDATORY BOATING SAFETY EDUCATION.
The General Assembly of North Carolina enacts:
SECTION 1. Article 1 of Chapter 75A of the General Statutes is amended by adding a new section to read:
“§ 75A-16.2. Boating safety education required.
(a) No person shall operate a vessel with a motor of 10 horsepower or greater on the public waters of this State unless the operator has met the requirements for boating safety education.
(b) A person shall be considered in compliance with the requirements of boating safety education if the person does one of the following:
(1) Completes and passes the boating safety course instituted by the Wildlife Resources Commission under G.S. 75A-16.1 or another boating safety course that is approved by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) and accepted by the Wildlife Resources
(2) Passes a proctored equivalency examination that tests the knowledge of information included in the curriculum of an approved course;
(3) Possesses a valid or expired license to operate a vessel issued to maritime personnel by the United States Coast Guard;
(4) Possesses a State-approved nonrenewable temporary operator’s certificate to operate a vessel for 90 days that was issued with the certificate of number for the vessel, if the boat was new or was sold with a transfer of ownership;
(5) Possesses a rental or lease agreement from a vessel rental or leasing business that lists the person as the authorized operator of the vessel;
(6) Properly displays Commission-issued dealer registration numbers during the demonstration of the vessel;
(7) Operates the vessel under onboard direct supervision of a person who is at least 18 years of age and who meets the requirements of this section;
(8) Demonstrates that he or she is not a resident, is temporarily using the waters of this State for a period not to exceed 90 days, and meets any applicable boating safety education requirements of the state or nation of residency;
(9) Has assumed operation of the vessel due to the illness or physical impairment of the initial operator, and is returning the vessel to shore in order to provide assistance or care for the operator;
(10) Is registered as a commercial fisherman or a person who is under the onboard direct supervision of a commercial fisherman while operating the commercial fisherman’s boat; or
(11) Provides proof that he or she is at least 26 years of age.
Any person who operates a vessel with a motor of 10 horsepower or greater on the waters of this State shall, upon the request of a law enforcement officer, present to the officer a certification card or proof that the person has complied with the provisions of this section.
(c) Any person who violates a provision of this section or a rule adopted pursuant to this section is guilty of an infraction, as provided in G.S. 14-3.1. The court shall assess court costs for each violation but shall not assess a penalty. A person may not be convicted of violating this section if, when tried for the offense, the person produces in court a certification card or proof that the person has completed and passed a boating safety course in compliance with subdivision (b)(1) of this section.
(d) No unit of local government shall enact any ordinance or rule relating to boating safety education, and this law preempts all existing ordinances or rules.
(e) An operator of a personal watercraft on the public waters of this State remains subject to any more specific provision of law found in G.S. 75A-13.3.”
SECTION 2. G.S. 75A-13.3 reads as rewritten: ”
§ 75A-13.3. Personal watercraft. …
(b) Except as otherwise provided in this subsection, no person under 16 years of age
shall operate a personal watercraft on the waters of this State, and it is unlawful for the owner
of a personal watercraft or a person who has temporary or permanent responsibility for a person
under the age of 16 to knowingly allow that person to operate a personal watercraft. A person
of at least 14 years of age but under 16 years of age may operate a personal watercraft on the
waters of this State if:
(1) The person is accompanied by a person of at least 18 years of age who physically occupies the watercraft; watercraft and who is in compliance with G.S. 75A-16.2; or
(2) The person (i) possesses on his or her person while operating the watercraft, identification showing proof of age and a boating safety certification card issued by the Commission or Commission, proof of other satisfactory completion of a boating safety education course approved by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA); (NASBLA), or proof of other boating safety education in compliance with G.S. 75A-16.2; and (ii) produces that identification and certification card proof upon the request of an officer of the Commission or local law enforcement agency.
(c3) A vessel livery shall provide the operator of a leased personal watercraft with basic safety instruction prior to allowing the operation of the leased personal watercraft. “Basic safety instruction” shall include direction on how to safely operate the personal watercraft and a
review of the safety provisions of this section. A vessel livery that fails to provide basic safety instruction is guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor…..”
SECTION 3. This act becomes effective May 1, 2010.
In the General Assembly read three times and ratified this the 30th day of June, 2009.
s/ Walter H. Dalton
President of the Senate
s/ Joe Hackney
Speaker of the House of Representatives
s/ Beverly E. Perdue
Approved 11:17 a.m. this 10th day of July, 2009
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