CHAPTER 268
BOATING

Table of Contents

Sec. 15-129. Safety devices and equipment for vessels. Regulation of motorboat noise.
Sec. 15-143. Exceptions to numbering and registration requirements.
Sec. 15-145. Marine dealer's and marine engine manufacturer's registration numbers and certificates. Availability and renewal of certificates. Use of vessel. Restrictions.
Sec. 15-149a. Reporting of accidents. Responsibilities of towboat operators.
Sec. 15-154. Enforcement. Refusal to stop vessel or take vessel to designated area. Penalties.
Sec. 15-156. Penalties. Operation of vessel while safe boating certificate or certificate of personal watercraft operation refused, suspended or revoked. Jurisdiction. Return of certificate to commissioner.

PART II
SAFETY REGULATION

      Sec. 15-129. Safety devices and equipment for vessels. Regulation of motorboat noise. (a) The provisions of this section shall apply to vessels operated on state and federal waters. (1) Every vessel shall carry for each person on board, so placed as to be readily accessible, at least one buoyant personal flotation device. The operator or owner of any vessel being used for recreational purposes, other than a vessel required to have a certificate of inspection issued by the Coast Guard, shall require any child under twelve years of age who is aboard such vessel to wear a personal flotation device while such vessel is underway unless the child is below deck or in an enclosed cabin. Sailboards shall be exempt from carrying a personal flotation device if the mast of the sailboard is secured to the hull by a leash or safety line. (2) Every motorboat with enclosed fuel storage space or an enclosed engine compartment shall be equipped with devices for ventilating flammable or explosive gases. (3) Every motorboat with a carbureted inboard engine shall have the carburetor of such engine equipped with a flame arrestor or backfire trap unless such engine is mounted in the aftermost part of the vessel with no provisions for carrying passengers behind the forward edge of the engine and the carburetor of such engine has its intake opening above the gunwale line of the vessel in the open atmosphere and mounted so backfire flames are directed to the rear or vertically away from the vessel and its occupants. (4) Every motorboat shall have its engine equipped with an effective muffler or muffler system. (5) All inboard motorboats, all outboard motorboats twenty-six feet or over in length, and all outboard motorboats less than twenty-six feet in length which have a compartment in which gases may accumulate, shall be equipped with a fire extinguisher. (6) Every motorboat sixteen feet or more in length shall be equipped with a whistle or horn-type sound-producing device capable of producing a blast of two seconds or more in duration. On motorboats sixteen feet or more but less than twenty-six feet in length such device shall be mouth, hand or power-operated and audible for at least one-half mile. On motorboats twenty-six feet or more but less than forty feet in length such device shall be hand or power-operated and audible for at least one mile. On motorboats forty feet or more but less than sixty-five feet in length such device shall be power-operated and audible for at least one mile. Every motorboat twenty-six feet or more in length shall be equipped with a bell capable of producing a clear bell-like tone of full round characteristics. (7) Every vessel operated on the waters of Long Island Sound or Fishers Island Sound between sunset and sunrise shall carry visual distress signals suitable for night use. Every vessel sixteen feet or more in length, except manually propelled vessels and open sailboats that are less than twenty-six feet in length, and are not equipped with propulsion machinery, operated on the waters of Long Island Sound or Fishers Island Sound at any time shall carry visual distress signals suitable for day and night use. No person, operator or owner in a vessel shall display or allow the display of a visual distress signal except when assistance is needed because of immediate or potential danger to persons aboard.

      (b) No person shall operate or give permission for the operation of any motorboat on the waters of this state unless such motorboat is at all times equipped with a muffler or muffler system which enables such motorboat to be operated in compliance with subsections (c) and (d) of this section and such muffler or muffler system is in use. For purposes of this section "muffler" or "muffler system" means a sound suppression device or system designed and installed to abate the sound of exhaust gases emitted from an internal combustion engine and causes such engine to operate in compliance with subsections (c) and (d) of this section. "Muffler system" includes, but is not limited to, an underwater through-the-propeller-hub exhaust outlet system.

      (c) No person shall operate or give permission for the operation of any motorboat on the waters of this state in such a manner as to exceed the following noise levels: (1) For engines manufactured before January 1, 1993, a noise level of 90 dB(A) when subjected to a stationary sound level test as prescribed by Society of Automotive Engineers Specification Number J2005; (2) for engines manufactured on or after January 1, 1993, a noise level of 88 dB(A) when subjected to a stationary sound level test as prescribed by Society of Automotive Engineers Specification Number J2005. If a motorboat is equipped with more than one engine, the said noise levels shall apply when all such engines are simultaneously in operation.

      (d) No person shall operate or give permission for the operation of any motorboat on the waters of this state in such a manner as to exceed a noise level of 75 dB(A) measured as specified by Society of Automotive Engineers Specification Number J1970.

      (e) Any officer authorized to enforce the provisions of this chapter who has reason to believe that a motorboat is being operated in excess of the noise levels established in subsection (c) or (d) of this section may request the operator of such motorboat to submit the motorboat to an on-site test to measure noise levels, with the officer on board such motorboat if such officer chooses, and the operator shall comply with such request. If such motorboat exceeds the noise levels established in subsection (c) or (d) of this section, the officer may direct the operator to take immediate and reasonable measures to correct the violation, including returning the motorboat to a mooring and keeping the motorboat at such mooring until the violation is corrected or ceases.

      (f) Any officer who conducts a motorboat sound level test as provided in this section shall be qualified in motorboat noise testing by the Department of Environmental Protection. Such qualification shall include, without limitation, instruction in selection of the measurement site and in the calibration and use of noise testing equipment.

      (g) No person shall operate or give permission for the operation of any motorboat on the waters of this state that is equipped with a muffler or muffler system cutout, bypass or similar device which prevents the proper operation of or diminishes the operating capacity of the muffler, or causes the motorboat to be operated in violation of subsection (c) or (d) of this section except that the commissioner shall allow the installation and operation of those muffler system cutouts, bypasses or similar devices that are demonstrated to the satisfaction of the commissioner to operate in accordance with the provisions of subsection (c) or (d) of this section.

      (h) No person shall remove a muffler or muffler system from a motorboat or alter a muffler or muffler system on a motorboat so as to prevent the operation of such motorboat in compliance with subsections (c) and (d) of this section.

      (i) No person shall sell or offer for sale any motorboat which is not equipped with a muffler or muffler system which enables such motorboat to be operated in compliance with subsections (c) and (d) of this section. This subsection shall not apply to the sale or offer for sale of a motorboat which will be operated solely for the purpose of competing in marine races or regattas, provided upon the sale of a motorboat which is not equipped with such a muffler or muffler system, the seller shall provide to the purchaser, and the purchaser shall date and sign, the following statement: "I understand that this motorboat may not be operated for any purposes other than competing in a marine race or regatta authorized under section 15-140b of the Connecticut general statutes". Such statement shall include the hull identification number of the motorboat being purchased. Not later than five days after the sale, the seller shall submit to the commissioner a copy of such signed and dated statement. The seller and purchaser shall each retain a copy of the statement.

      (j) The provisions of subsections (c) and (d) of this section shall not apply to the operation of a motorboat participating in a marine race or regatta authorized by the commissioner under section 15-140b.

      (k) All devices and equipment required by this section shall be of a type and carried in the quantity and location approved by the commissioner or by the United States Coast Guard.

      (l) Sirens shall not be used on any vessel except that law enforcement vessels of the United States, this state or a political subdivision of this state may use sirens when engaged in law enforcement activities or when identification is necessary for safety reasons. Any vessel may be equipped with a theft alarm signal device if such device is so designed that it cannot be used as an ordinary warning signal.

      (m) Any person who violates any provision of subsection (a) of this section shall have committed an infraction. Any person who fails to comply with a request or direction of an officer made pursuant to subsection (e) of this section shall be fined not less than three hundred fifty dollars nor more than five hundred fifty dollars and shall be fined not less than four hundred fifty dollars nor more than six hundred fifty dollars for each subsequent offense. Any person who violates the provisions of any other subsection of this section shall be fined not less than one hundred dollars nor more than five hundred dollars.

      (1961, P.A. 520, S. 9; 1967, P.A. 449, S. 1; 1969, P.A. 145, S. 1; P.A. 73-257, S. 4, 27; P.A. 76-381, S. 21; P.A. 78-275, S. 1, 3; P.A. 83-50, S. 2, 3; P.A. 84-268, S. 1; P.A. 85-106, S. 3; P.A. 87-505, S. 1, 9; P.A. 89-388, S. 25; P.A. 97-49, S. 1, 2; P.A. 98-209, S. 18, 25; P.A. 05-76, S. 2; 05-203, S. 1.)

      History: 1967 act made provisions applicable to vessels in federal waters, required life preservers on sailboats, canoes and rowboats as well as on motorboats, inserted new Subdiv. (2) in Subsec. (a) re preservers for children under sixteen, renumbering remaining Subdivs. accordingly, required ventilation for enclosed engine compartments and added Subdiv. (6) requiring fire extinguishers; 1969 act added Subsec. (c) forbidding operation of improperly equipped vessel; P.A. 73-257 replaced specific vessel listing in Subsec. (a)(1) with "vessel" and "life preserving device" with "personal flotation device", deleted Subdiv. (2) and renumbered remaining Subsecs. accordingly; P.A. 76-381 added Subsec. (d) making violation an infraction; P.A. 78-275 inserted new Subsec. (b) re permissible noise levels and relettered remaining Subsecs. accordingly; P.A. 83-50 amended Subsec. (a) to deem a sailboard hull to be a personal flotation device; P.A. 84-268 amended Subsec. (b) by adding provision authorizing an officer to request a vessel operator to submit the vessel to a test, deleted Subsec. (d), which had prohibited operating or giving permission to operate a vessel not equipped as required, adding prohibition against the giving of permission to operate a vessel in such a way as to exceed noise levels in Subsec. (b), relettering the remaining Subsec. accordingly and amending said Subsec. by adding specific fine for refusal to submit to the test; P.A. 85-106 amended Subsec. (a) by making technical changes in Subdiv. (1), establishing an exception to the requirement of arrestors or backfire traps in Subdiv. (2) and adding Subdivs. (6) re sound devices and (7) re visual distress signals, amended Subsec. (c) by adding provisions re quantity and location, and amended Subsec. (d) to prohibit the use of sirens; P.A. 87-505 added Subsec. (e) re altered mufflers; P.A. 89-388 amended Subsec. (b) by relettering provisions re officers as Subsec. (c) and adding provisions re reasonable measures to correct a violation and moved provisions re violations from Subsec. (e) to new Subsec. (g) and added penalty for violations of Subsecs. (b) and (c); P.A. 97-49 amended Subsec. (a) to require operator or owner of certain vessels to require any child under twelve to wear personal flotation device while vessel is underway, effective July 1, 1997; P.A. 98-209 substantially amended former section and relettered former subsections to provide for more extensive regulation of motorboat noise, amending or adding Subsecs. (b) to (m), inclusive, effective July 1, 1999 (Revisor's note: The Revisors editorially substituted a period for a comma following "... Department of Environmental Protection"); P.A. 05-76 required every motorboat to be equipped with effective muffler or muffler system in Subsec. (a), defined "muffler system" in Subsec. (b), provided exception for installation and operation of muffler system cutouts, bypasses or similar devices approved by Commissioner of Environmental Protection in Subsec. (g), and added references to muffler system in Subsecs. (b), (g), (h) and (i), effective June 2, 2005; P.A. 05-203 added provision re person failing to comply with request or direction of officer made pursuant to Subsec. (e) being subject to increased fine, added provision re fine for subsequent offense and made a conforming change in Subsec. (m), effective July 1, 2005.

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PART III
NUMBERING AND REGISTRATION OF VESSELS

      Sec. 15-143. Exceptions to numbering and registration requirements. (a) Vessels of the following classes are not required to be numbered or display a Connecticut registration decal by this state: (1) Motorboats which have a valid marine document issued by the United States Coast Guard, provided the owner of any such vessel used upon the waters of this state for more than sixty days in any calendar year shall be required to comply with the registration requirements in section 15-144; (2) vessels owned in countries other than the United States temporarily using the waters of the state; (3) vessels owned by the United States, a state or a political subdivision of a state which are used in the performance of governmental functions; (4) vessels used exclusively as ships' lifeboats; (5) vessels belonging to any class which the Commissioner of Environmental Protection exempts upon finding that the numbering of such vessels does not materially aid in their identification; provided, the commissioner shall not exempt any such class of vessels which is subject to the provisions of the federal Boat Safety Act of 1971 and which has not been exempted therefrom under the provisions of Subsection (b) of Section 19 of said act; (6) vessels principally used in another state for which valid, effective certificates of number were awarded by the United States or by such other state pursuant to the provisions of the federal Boat Safety Act of 1971; provided, the owner of a vessel used upon the waters of this state for more than sixty days in any calendar year shall be required to comply with the registration requirements in section 15-144; and (7) any vessel less than nineteen and one-half feet in length which is not a motorboat as defined in section 15-141, and any vessel propelled solely by oar or paddle.

      (b) Vessels, the sale or transfer of which is subject to the provisions of Section 37 of the Shipping Act, 1916, shall be numbered by this state only when such sale or transfer is approved by the United States Maritime Administration.

      (1961, P.A. 506, S. 9, 10; P.A. 73-257, S. 9, 27; P.A. 81-423, S. 4, 25; P.A. 82-283, S. 2, 4; 82-436, S. 1, 11; 82-472, S. 32, 183; P.A. 83-253, S. 2, 3; P.A. 05-133, S. 4.)

      History: P.A. 73-257 replaced U.S. Bureau of Customs with U.S. Coast Guard in Subsec. (a)(1), replaced "board" with "commissioner of environmental protection" in Subsec. (a)(5) and rephrased provisions, deleted provision re re:CHY:cording certificates from U.S. or other states before boat used in this state in Subdiv. (6) of Subsec. (a), added statement that boat used in state for more than sixty days a year deemed principally used in this state and replaced references to Federal Boating Act of 1958 with references to Federal Boat Safety Act of 1971; P.A. 81-423 exempted vessels under nineteen and one-half feet which are not motorboats and vessels propelled solely by oar or paddle from numbering requirement and substituted "vessels" for "motorboats" throughout section; P.A. 82-283 and 82-436 added provisions, in conformance with section 15-142, that vessel with marine document from United States Coast Guard is not required to be numbered in this state, however, if in state waters more than sixty days in any year, such vessel must be registered; P.A. 82-436 also added reference to "any canoe equipped with a motor the horsepower of which is less than five" in Subdiv. (7) of Subsec. (a); P.A. 82-472 removed provision re canoes added by P.A. 82-436; P.A. 83-253 added language in Subsec. (a) modifying references to use of any vessel so that the use referred to, for purposes of determining when registration is required, is the use of such vessel upon the waters of this state; P.A. 05-133 amended Subsec. (a) to add provision that vessels of specified classes not be required to display a Connecticut registration decal.

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      Sec. 15-145. Marine dealer's and marine engine manufacturer's registration numbers and certificates. Availability and renewal of certificates. Use of vessel. Restrictions. (a) A marine dealer or marine engine manufacturer may obtain one or more marine dealer's registration numbers upon application to the Commissioner of Environmental Protection, and upon payment of a fee of fifty dollars for each number. Such funds shall be deposited in the boating account of the Conservation Fund. Such application shall contain an affidavit stating that (1) such marine dealer is a person engaged in the business of manufacturing, selling or repairing new or used vessels and that such person has an established place of business for the sale, trade, display or repair of such vessels, or (2) such marine engine manufacturer is a person engaged in the business of manufacturing, selling or repairing marine engines and that such person has an established place of business for the sale, trade, display or repair of such engines. A marine dealer's or marine engine manufacturer's registration certificate shall be denominated as such and shall state the dealer's or engine manufacturer's name, residence address, business address, registration number, the expiration date of the certificate and such other information as the Commissioner of Environmental Protection may prescribe. The certificate, or a copy of the certificate, shall be carried aboard and shall be available for inspection upon each vessel which displays the dealer's registration number whenever such vessel is in operation. A number or certificate may not be used on more than one vessel at a time. Each certificate shall be renewed on the first day of May of the year following the date of issue and shall expire on the last day of April of the year following such renewal, unless sooner terminated or surrendered. At least thirty days prior to the expiration day of each certificate, the Commissioner of Environmental Protection shall notify each dealer and manufacturer of such expiration. Within ninety days before its expiration, each dealer's or manufacturer's certificate may be renewed upon application and upon payment of the fee provided in this section. Each registration number assigned to a marine dealer or marine engine manufacturer shall remain the same so long as such dealer or manufacturer continues, under the same name, in the business described in such dealer's or manufacturer's application affidavit as required pursuant to this subsection.

      (b) A marine dealer's registration number shall be displayed in such manner as the Commissioner of Environmental Protection prescribes on vessels operated for the purpose of sale, trade, repair or transport and on any vessel sold by such dealer for not more than five days after the date of such sale, and on any vessel used by a marine engine manufacturer for the sole purpose of testing or demonstrating marine engines manufactured or repaired by such person. Any vessel displaying a marine dealer's registration number shall be presumed to be properly registered.

      (c) No marine dealer or marine engine manufacturer may (1) rent, or allow or cause to be rented, (2) operate, or allow or cause to be operated, for hire, or (3) use, or allow or cause to be used, for the purpose of conveying passengers or merchandise or freight for hire, any vessel registered with a marine dealer's or marine engine manufacturer's number and certificate. No marine dealer or marine engine manufacturer may loan a number certificate to any person except (A) for the purpose of demonstrating a vessel; (B) when a vessel owned by or lawfully in the custody of such person is undergoing repairs; or (C) when such person has purchased a vessel, the registration of which has not yet been completed and in any case for not more than five consecutive days. Each marine dealer or marine engine manufacturer shall keep a record of each loaned number certificate showing the date loaned, the vessel hull identification number (HIN) of the vessel on which such number is displayed, the date returned and the name and address of the person operating any vessel with such loaned number certificate. Such dealer or engine manufacturer shall give a copy of this record to each person to whom such number certificate is loaned, which copy shall be carried in the vessel at all times when operated. This record shall be retained by the dealer or engine manufacturer for a period of six months from the date on which the number certificate was loaned and such record shall be available during business hours for examination by any police officer, marine officer or conservation officer.

      (d) Any marine dealer may operate, or cause to be operated by a bona fide full-time employee, a vessel with a marine dealer's registration number (1) while a potential purchaser or customer is aboard, (2) when running a new vessel from an import terminal to the dealer's place of business, (3) when test running a new vessel after receiving it from the manufacturer, (4) when delivering a sold vessel to the new owner, (5) when running a trade-in vessel from a buyer, (6) when test running a trade-in vessel before it is made available for sale, (7) when running a vessel to, and using a vessel in, a fishing tournament, (8) when test running a vessel after repairs, maintenance or winter storage, (9) when used in connection with the business of the marine dealer, (10) when running the vessel to obtain or deliver parts for the repair of the vessel or another vessel, and (11) for the personal use of the marine dealer. Each marine dealer shall maintain a record of the following: (A) Each marine number certificate issued by the commissioner to such dealer, (B) the name, address and occupation of any bona fide full-time employee to whom such certificate has been assigned, (C) the date of assignment of such certificate, and (D) the exact location of each unassigned certificate. For the purposes of this subsection, "bona fide full-time employee" means a person who is employed by a marine dealer for not less than thirty-five hours per week and who appears on the records of such marine dealer as an employee for whom tax is withheld for Social Security, federal income tax and any other withholding or deductions from salary required by law.

      (e) No person may use a vessel with a marine dealer's or marine engine manufacturer's registration number for any purpose other than the purposes described in this section. The commissioner may revoke any marine dealer's or marine engine manufacturer's registration number under this section if any vessel with a number issued to such dealer or engine manufacturer is used in violation of this section.

      (1961, P.A. 506, S. 12; 1971, P.A. 872, S. 386; P.A. 73-257, S. 12, 27; P.A. 74-302, S. 2, 3; P.A. 81-423, S. 6, 25; P.A. 82-436, S. 3, 11; P.A. 84-268, S. 4; P.A. 94-188, S. 28; P.A. 99-114; P.A. 05-76, S. 1.)

      History: 1971 act replaced "commission", referring to boating commission, with "commissioner", referring to commissioner of environmental protection; P.A. 73-257 required that ID numbers be applied for to commissioner of motor vehicles rather than commissioner of environmental protection, increased fee from five to ten dollars, included commissioner of motor vehicles in provision re information on certificate and changed validity period from three years to one year in Subsec. (a) and made technical change to Subsec. (b) for clarity; P.A. 74-302 added provision re affidavit in Subsec. (a) and revised expiration provision in Subsec. (b) so that licenses expire on same date (last day of April) rather than one year from date of issue; P.A. 81-423 substituted "registration" for "identification" numbers and "vessels" for "motorboats" and raised fee from ten to fifteen dollars; P.A. 82-436 amended Subsec. (a) by requiring that applications by marine dealers for registration numbers are subject to approval by the commissioner of environmental protection, and increased fee for each such registration number from fifteen dollars to twenty-five dollars; P.A. 84-268 transferred authority to receive applications for registration numbers and to notify dealers of impending expiration dates from motor vehicles commissioner to environmental protection commissioner; P.A. 94-188 amended Subsec. (a) to add provisions re marine engine manufacturers and amended Subsec. (b) by deleting "solely" after "prescribes" and by including vessels used by marine engine manufacturers for the sole purpose of testing or demonstrating marine engines manufactured or repaired by them; P.A. 99-114 amended Subsec. (a) to increase the fee for a marine dealer or marine engine manufacturer registration number from twenty-five to fifty dollars, provide that such funds be deposited into the boating account of the Conservation Fund, provide for the carrying of a copy of the certificate, and provide that a number or certificate may not be used on more than one vessel at a time, amended Subsec. (b) to allow operation of vessels with such numbers for purposes of repair or transport and add provision re presumption that a vessel displaying a marine dealer's registration number is properly registered, and added Subsecs. (c), (d) and (e) re restrictions on use of vessels with such numbers; P.A. 05-76 amended Subsec. (d) by adding Subdivs. (9), (10) and (11) to expand marine dealer and full-time employee use of vessels to permit business or personal use and use to obtain or deliver repair parts, effective June 2, 2005.

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      Sec. 15-149a. Reporting of accidents. Responsibilities of towboat operators. (a) Any person operating a vessel upon the waters of this state which vessel is in any manner involved in an accident in which any person dies, is injured so as to require medical attention, or disappears, shall immediately notify the nearest law enforcement agency having jurisdiction over such accident and, not later than forty-eight hours after such accident, report the matter in writing to the Commissioner of Environmental Protection. The report shall be on a form prescribed by the commissioner and shall state as accurately as possible the time, place and cause of such accident, the injuries occasioned by the accident and any other facts the commissioner deems necessary. If such operator is physically incapable of notifying the nearest law enforcement agency or of making such report and there is another participant or passenger in the accident not incapacitated, such participant or passenger shall immediately notify the nearest law enforcement agency having jurisdiction over such accident and make the report to the commissioner not later than forty-eight hours after such accident. Any person operating a vessel upon the waters of this state which is in any manner involved in an accident in which the total damages to all property affected by such accident, including property of such operator, is in excess of five hundred dollars, such person shall, not later than five days after such accident, report the matter in writing to the commissioner on such forms as said commissioner may prescribe. If there is no person other than the owner capable of making such report or if the report has not been submitted and the owner of such vessel is not incapacitated, such owner shall, not later than five days after learning of the facts of such accident, report the matter to the commissioner, on such forms as said commissioner may prescribe. Any such operator of a vessel, or surviving participant or passenger in any such accident, or the owner of the vessel involved in any such accident, shall provide any other information or additional report as the commissioner shall require. Failure of any person to comply with any provision of this subsection shall be an infraction.

      (b) Except in an emergency, no vessel towboat operator who for a fee or other compensation conducts vessel towing services for recreational boaters shall take under tow any vessel which has been involved in a boating accident or has been abandoned without first notifying federal, state or municipal law enforcement authorities and the owner of the vessel. In the event circumstances are such that the vessel should be immediately towed to safety to prevent loss of the vessel or injury to passengers, the towboat operator shall immediately notify such authorities upon reaching safe harbor. Failure to notify law enforcement authorities and the vessel owner as required by the provisions of this subsection shall be an infraction.

      (P.A. 87-505, S. 3, 9; P.A. 96-82; 96-118, S. 6; P.A. 05-133, S. 3.)

      History: P.A. 96-82 amended Subsec. (a) to provide for more detailed procedures for reporting of boating accidents and added Subsec. (b) re responsibilities of vessel towboat operators in postaccident towing; P.A. 96-118 amended Subsec. (a) to make a minor grammatical correction; P.A. 05-133 required notification of accident to nearest law enforcement agency "having jurisdiction over such accident" not later than, rather than within, forty-eight hours after accident and made a technical change in Subsec. (a).

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      Sec. 15-154. Enforcement. Refusal to stop vessel or take vessel to designated area. Penalties. (a) Any harbor master, deputy harbor master, conservation officer, special conservation officer or state police officer and any municipal police officer, any special police officer appointed under sections 29-18 and 29-19, any town marine officers appointed under section 15-154a and certified by the commissioner for marine police duty and any lake patrolman appointed under section 7-151b may enforce the provisions of this chapter and chapter 446k, except that only peace officers shall enforce the provisions of subsection (d) of section 15-133 and sections 15-140l and 15-140n. In the enforcement of this chapter, such officer may arrest, without previous complaint and warrant, any person who fails to comply with the provisions of this chapter. Failure to appear in court pursuant to such arrest, unless excused by the court or the state's attorney or assistant state's attorney, shall constitute sufficient cause for the suspension by the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles of the boat registration of the boat involved for not more than thirty days or until the matter is resolved by the court, whichever is sooner.

      (b) When engaged in the enforcement of this chapter and chapter 446k, such officer shall have the authority to stop and board any vessel which is under way or which is moored on the waters of this state for the purposes of (1) examining decals, certificates and other documents, (2) inspecting safety equipment and waste disposal systems, (3) determining if the operation of such vessel exceeds the noise levels established in subsection (b) of section 15-129, (4) searching when such officer has probable cause to believe that any provision of any law of this state or any rule or regulation of the Department of Environmental Protection relating to boating or water pollution has been violated, (5) determining compliance with sections 15-140l and 15-140n and subsections (d) and (e) of section 15-133, when such authorized officer has probable cause to believe said section or subsection has been violated, and (6) making arrests.

      (c) No person operating a vessel shall refuse to stop such vessel or, if sea conditions make stopping in that area unsafe, refuse to take such vessel to a designated area after being requested or signalled to do so by such officer. Any person operating a vessel who refuses to stop or refuses to take such vessel to the designated area shall have committed an infraction. Any person, when signalled to stop by such officer in a law enforcement vessel using an audible signal device or flashing blue lights, who operates such vessel in disregard of such signal so as to (1) interfere with or endanger the operation of the law enforcement vessel or any other vessel, (2) endanger or cause damage to property or person, or (3) increase or maintain speed in an attempt to escape or elude such law enforcement officer shall be guilty of a class A misdemeanor. If such violation causes the death or serious physical injury of another person, the vessel operator shall be guilty of a class D felony, and such operator's safe boating certificate, certificate of personal watercraft operation or right to operate a vessel that requires a certificate shall be suspended for one year. For any subsequent offense, such operator shall be guilty of a class D felony, except that if any prior offense by such operator under this section caused, and such subsequent offense causes, the death or serious physical injury of another person, such operator shall be guilty of a class D felony for which one year of the sentence imposed may not be suspended or reduced by the court, and such operator's safe boating certificate, certificate of personal watercraft operation or right to operate a vessel that requires a certificate shall be suspended for not less than eighteen months or more than two years. Proof of the registration number of the vessel shall be prima facie evidence in any prosecution that the owner was the operator. For purposes of this subsection, "serious physical injury" means physical injury which creates a substantial risk of death, or which causes serious disfigurement, serious impairment of health or serious loss or impairment of the function of any bodily organ.

      (d) The Commissioner of Environmental Protection shall publish an enforcement manual, conduct training and educational sessions, serve as liaison between the enforcement groups and the Superior Court and shall be generally responsible for the overall coordination of enforcement.

      (1961, P.A. 506, S. 21; 1963, P.A. 552, S. 2; 1967, P.A. 170, S. 1; 1969, P.A. 219, S. 1; 1971, P.A. 54, S. 2; 872, S. 391; P.A. 73-257, S. 18, 27; P.A. 74-183, S. 205, 291; P.A. 76-381, S. 34; 76-436, S. 175, 681; P.A. 81-423, S. 14, 25; P.A. 82-472, S. 38, 48, 183; P.A. 84-268, S. 2; P.A. 87-505, S. 2, 9; P.A. 89-388, S. 9, 23, 27; P.A. 03-244, S. 7; P.A. 04-257, S. 28; P.A. 05-133, S. 2.)

      History: 1963 act added volunteer police auxiliary force member to Subsec. (a); 1967 act substituted "chapter" for "part", amended Subsec. (b) to allow boarding of boat operated in reckless manner, to expand provisions re stopping boat when signalled to do so and to include provision for fine and added Subsec. (c) re enforcement by boat safety commission; 1969 act provided in Subsec. (a) for suspension of registration for failure to appear in court; 1971 acts allowed enforcement of chapter provisions by town marine officer and replaced "boating commission" and "commission" with "commissioner" referring to commissioner of environmental protection; P.A. 73-257 gave enforcement power to special police officer, extended enforcement to part II of chapter 474 and chapter 474a, replaced references to summons with references to arrest powers, gave power to suspend registration to motor vehicles commissioner rather than environmental protection commissioner and deleted provision which allowed arrest only on court order or warrant issued by prosecuting officer and amended Subsec. (b) to allow officer to stop boats as specified, replacing requirement that patrols be made only in marked police vessels and that vessels be stopped only if ID number not displayed or if boat is operated recklessly; P.A. 74-183 replaced circuit court with court of common pleas in Subsec. (c); P.A. 76-381 replaced provision for fifty dollar maximum fine in Subsec. (b) with statement that violator deemed to have committed an infraction; P.A. 76-436 replaced "prosecutor" with "state's attorney" or "assistant state's attorney" in Subsec. (a) and replaced court of common pleas with superior court in Subsec. (c), effective July 1, 1978; P.A. 81-423 inserted "vessel" in lieu of "motorboat" where appropriate in Subsec. (b); P.A. 82-472 divided Subsec. (b) into Subdivs. and made other technical corrections; P.A. 84-268 amended Subsec. (b) by inserting Subdiv. (3) authorizing an officer to stop and board vessels to determine compliance with noise level standards and renumbered the remaining Subdivs. accordingly; P.A. 87-505 amended Subsec. (b) by adding provision re penalty failure to stop a vessel and substituted reference to searching with "probable cause" for reference to searching without a warrant; P.A. 89-388 amended Subsec. (a) to authorize lake patrolmen to enforce boating law and water pollution control law and amended Subsec. (b) by adding Subdiv. (5) re probable cause for violations of Sec. 15-133 and renumbering the remaining Subdiv. Accordingly; P.A. 03-244 amended Subsec. (a) to delete provision re members of volunteer police auxiliary force and to provide that only peace officers shall enforce Secs. 15-33(d), 15-140l and 15-140n and amended Subsec. (b) to add reference to Secs. 15-133 (d) and (e), 15-140l and 15-140n and to make technical changes; P.A. 04-257 made technical changes in Subsec. (b), effective June 14, 2004; P.A. 05-133 replaced reference to Sec. 15-33 with reference to Sec. 15-133 in Subsec. (a), divided Subsec. (b) into Subsecs. (b) and (c), made technical changes, replaced former provisions re fines with provisions re penalties for refusal to stop vessel or take vessel to designated area if violation causes serious physical injury to another person and defined "serious physical injury" in Subsec. (c) and redesignated former Subsec. (c) as Subsec. (d).

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      Sec. 15-156. Penalties. Operation of vessel while safe boating certificate or certificate of personal watercraft operation refused, suspended or revoked. Jurisdiction. Return of certificate to commissioner. (a) Any person who violates any provision of this part for which a penalty is not provided shall have committed an infraction.

      (b) No person to whom a safe boating certificate or certificate of personal watercraft operation has been refused, or whose certificate or right to operate a vessel in this state has been suspended or revoked, shall operate any vessel during the period of such refusal, suspension or revocation. No person shall operate or cause to be operated any vessel, the registration of which has been suspended or revoked.

      (c) Except as provided in subsection (d) of this section, any person who violates any provision of subsection (b) of this section shall be fined not less than one hundred fifty dollars or more than two hundred dollars or imprisoned not more than ninety days, or be both fined and imprisoned for the first offense, and for any subsequent offense shall be fined not less than two hundred dollars or more than six hundred dollars or imprisoned not more than one year, or be both fined and imprisoned.

      (d) (1) Any person who operates any vessel during the period such person's certificate or right to operate a vessel in this state is under suspension or revocation on account of a violation of subsection (d) of section 15-133 or subsection (c) of section 15-154 shall be fined not less than five hundred dollars or more than one thousand dollars and imprisoned not more than one year. In the absence of any mitigating circumstances, as determined by the court, thirty consecutive days of the sentence imposed may not be suspended or reduced in any manner. The court shall specifically state, in writing, for the record the mitigating circumstances, or the absence thereof.

      (2) Any person convicted of reckless operation of a vessel in the first or second degree while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug, or both, in violation of section 15-140l or 15-140n, who operates a vessel during the period such person's certificate or right to operate a vessel in this state is under suspension or revocation, in addition to any penalties imposed in accordance with said sections or section 15-140o, shall be fined not less than five hundred dollars or more than one thousand dollars and imprisoned not more than one year. In the absence of any mitigating circumstances as determined by the court, thirty consecutive days of the sentence imposed may not be suspended or reduced in any manner. The court shall specifically state, in writing, for the record any mitigating circumstances, or the absence thereof.

      (3) A court having jurisdiction of a violation of subdivision (1) or (2) of this subsection may prohibit such person from operating any vessel on any waters of this state for a period of not more than two years. Notice of such suspension shall be transmitted forthwith by the court to the Commissioner of Environmental Protection and the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles.

      (e) Any person who has had a safe boating certificate or certificate of personal watercraft operation suspended or revoked under subsection (d) of section 15-133 or section 15-140l, 15-140n or 15-154 shall, not later than two business days after the suspension or revocation takes effect, return the certificate to the commissioner. If such person fails to return the certificate to the commissioner, the commissioner shall direct a conservation law enforcement officer to secure possession thereof and to return the certificate to the office of the commissioner. Failure of such person to return the certificate shall be an infraction.

      (1961, P.A. 506, S. 23; P.A. 73-257, S. 21, 27; P.A. 81-423, S. 16, 25; P.A. 82-223, S. 27; 82-348, S. 3, 6; P.A. 89-388, S. 16, 27; P.A. 05-133, S. 1.)

      History: P.A. 73-257 added Subsec. (e) re suspension of privilege to operate boat when conviction made for reckless or negligent operation while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or drugs; P.A. 81-423 inserted references to registration consistent with other sections of the act; P.A. 82-348, in conjunction with P.A. 82-223, deleted references to specific penalties in former Subsecs. (a) to (e) and provided (1) that any violation of a provision in part III of chapter 268 for which a penalty is not provided shall be an infraction and (2) an increase in fine for any person operating a vessel in violation of a court prohibition from one hundred to two hundred dollars; P.A. 89-388 amended Subsec. (b) to add provisions re violations in the first or second degree for consistency with legislative enactment of such violations in 1989; P.A. 05-133 prohibited operation of vessel by person who has had safe boating certificate or certificate of personal watercraft operation refused, suspended or revoked in new Subsec. (b), provided penalty for violation of Subsec. (b) in new Subsec. (c), provided penalties for operation of vessel when certificate under suspension or revocation for violation of Sec. 15-133(d) or Sec. 15-154(c) in new Subsec. (d)(1), redesignated existing Subsec. (b) as Subsec. (d)(2) and (3) and expanded penalty provisions to include person convicted of reckless operation of vessel during period certificate or right to operate is under suspension or revocation, increase fines and impose possibility of imprisonment, and required return of certificate to commissioner or commissioner to direct conservation law enforcement officer to secure possession of certificate in new Subsec. (e).

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