Senate Bill No. 858
               Senate Bill No. 858

               PUBLIC ACT NO. 97-72


AN ACT CONCERNING BOATING.


    Be  it  enacted  by  the  Senate  and House of
Representatives in General Assembly convened:
    Section  1.  Section  15-140j  of  the general
statutes  is  repealed  and   the   following   is
substituted in lieu thereof:
    (a)   As   used  in  this  section,  "personal
watercraft" is any  inboard  powered  vessel  less
than  sixteen feet in length which has an internal
combustion engine powering a water-jet pump as its
primary  source  of  motor propulsion and which 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.
    (b)  On  and  after  June  23, 1993, no person
shall operate a personal watercraft unless he  has
successfully  completed  a course in safe personal
watercraft handling approved by  the  Commissioner
of  Environmental Protection and has been issued a
certificate of personal  watercraft  operation  by
the   Commissioner  of  Environmental  Protection.
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  a copy of the
United States  Coast  Guard  authorization  for  a
marine event.
    (c)  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.  Any fee
collected pursuant to  regulations  adopted  under
this  section  shall  be  deposited in the boating
account established pursuant to section 15-155.
    (d)  Notwithstanding  subsection  (b)  of this
section, any person who purchases a  new  or  used
personal  watercraft after May 20, 1994, may, upon
vessel registration, apply to the Commissioner  of
Environmental    Protection    for   a   temporary
certificate of personal watercraft operation which
shall  be  valid  for  six 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.
    (e)   THE   COMMISSIONER   MAY  ENTER  INTO  A
RECIPROCAL AGREEMENT WITH ANY  OTHER  STATE  WHICH
HAS  A  SIMILAR  SAFE PERSONAL WATERCRAFT HANDLING
CERTIFICATE PROGRAM WHICH 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
HAS   SUCH   A   RECIPROCAL   AGREEMENT  WITH  THE
COMMISSIONER MAY OPERATE A PERSONAL WATERCRAFT  ON
THE WATERS OF THIS STATE.
    [(e)]  (f)  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.
    [(f)]   (g)   Any   person  who  violates  any
provision of this section shall be fined not  less
than sixty dollars nor more than two hundred fifty
dollars for each such violation.
    Sec.   2.   Section  15-140b  of  the  general
statutes  is  repealed  and   the   following   is
substituted in lieu thereof:
    Written  permission shall be obtained from the
commissioner at least  [fifteen]  THIRTY  days  in
advance  for  any  marine  parade,  regatta, race,
tournament or  exhibition  to  be  held  on  state
waters,  as  defined  in  section  15-127,  OR, BY
AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE UNITED  STATES  COAST  GUARD
AND   THE  COMMISSIONER,  ON  FEDERAL  WATERS,  AS
DEFINED IN SAID SECTION 15-127.  The  commissioner
may  grant  season permits. Any person who obtains
such permission shall be responsible for providing
reasonable   protection   as   prescribed  by  the
commissioner and for taking reasonable precautions
to  safeguard  persons  and  property.  During any
authorized event, the COMMISSIONER MAY REQUIRE THE
person  conducting  it  [shall]  TO  conspicuously
display one or more WARNING flags,  WARNING  BUOYS
OR    WARNING   SIGNS   as   prescribed   by   the
commissioner. When such  warning  [flags]  DEVICES
are  displayed, no watercraft not participating in
the event shall cross the course or  area  of  the
event, except in an emergency. The warning [flags]
DEVICES shall be removed for reasonable periods of
time  during  the  event to allow nonparticipating
watercraft to pass through the  area.  Any  person
who  violates  any provision of this section shall
be subject to the penalty  in  subsection  (b)  of
section 15-139.
    Sec.   3.   Section  15-149b  of  the  general
statutes  is  repealed  and   the   following   is
substituted in lieu thereof:
    (a)   ANY   LAW   ENFORCEMENT   OFFICER,  FIRE
DEPARTMENT PERSONNEL,  RESCUE  SERVICE  PERSONNEL,
EMERGENCY  MEDICAL  TECHNICIAN  OR OTHER EMERGENCY
RESPONSE OFFICIAL WHO RECEIVES THE INITIAL  REPORT
OF  A BOATING ACCIDENT IN WHICH A PERSON IS KILLED
OR INJURED  OR  DISAPPEARS  FROM  ON  BOARD  UNDER
CIRCUMSTANCES SUGGESTING A POSSIBILITY OF DEATH OR
INJURY SHALL IMMEDIATELY NOTIFY  THE  COMMISSIONER
OF   ENVIRONMENTAL  PROTECTION.  THE  COMMISSIONER
SHALL INVESTIGATE ANY ACCIDENT  RESULTING  IN  THE
DEATH   OR   DISAPPEARANCE   OF  ANY  PERSON.  THE
COMMISSIONER  SHALL   INVESTIGATE   ANY   ACCIDENT
RESULTING  IN SERIOUS INJURY WHEN HE DEEMS SUCH AN
INVESTIGATION TO BE NECESSARY.
    (b)  On  and  after  July 7, 1987, any officer
authorized  to  enforce  the  provisions  of  this
chapter  who  interviews participants or witnesses
at the time or scene of  a  boating  accident  for
which  a  report  is  required pursuant to section
15-149a shall submit a copy of the report  of  the
interviews  to  the  Commissioner of Environmental
Protection. The report shall contain the names  of
the  persons and vessels involved, all information
necessary to determine the cause of the  accident,
the conditions at the time of the accident and the
enforcement action taken. The report shall  be  on
forms  prescribed by the commissioner and shall be
submitted  not  more  than  five  days  after  the
completion of the interviews.
    Sec.  4.  This  act shall take effect from its
passage, except that section 2 shall  take  effect
October 1, 1998.

Approved May 27, 1997