Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Boating Law Roundup

With a new month and a new boating season upon us, there are many new boating laws in effect or under consideration. Will any of these new regulations affect your boating routine?

New Safety Requirements

Younger boaters in Louisiana have more than oil in the Gulf to worry about. Previously, you were required to take a boating safety course if you were born after January 1, 1988. Now, persons born between January 1, 1984, and January 1, 1988, have until July 1, 2010, to pass a safety course. More info

We've mentioned a couple of times, but it's worth repeating that new regulations in North Carolina are now in effect. Boaters under 26 years old in North Carolina must complete a NASBLA approved boating education course before operating any motorboat.

In Maryland, a new state law went into effect in April requiring all children 13 and younger to wear life jackets while on any moving boat. More info

Canadians boaters have had to be certified and in possession of a Pleasure Craft Operator Card to operate a boat since last September, but it's just now getting warm enough for that to matter for most boaters in the country.

No Wake Zones

Live Free or Die, but don't go over 45 mph on Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire anymore (Full story from the Boston Globe)

You better watch your wake on Wisconsin's waterways, as a new ordinance was passed to reduce boaters' wake size on parts of the Milwaukee River. More info

Coming soon to Iowa… The Iowa Department of Natural Resources is looking to establish zones that reduce or restrict boat speed to less than 5 mph in some parts of the state. Full story

Stepped-Up Enforcement

If you boat on Lake Wylie in South Carolina, expect an increased presence by law enforcement at boat landings, as well as undercover boat patrols. Looks like SC is getting tough to prevent any more boating deaths this year. 

Remember that Canadian operator's card thing we told you about 15 seconds ago? Here's the important part… With the new boating season upon us, multiple news reports indicate that police are indeed enforcing the new requirement, which can result in a $250 fine. Examples here and here.

Our home state of CT is getting tougher on drinking and boating. A new law just passed in Hartford that enables authorities to charge boaters who are under the influence even if tests are administered outside of the two-hour time limit. 

Trickle-Down Tax Break

This last bit has nothing to do with safety, but it's a new law none-the-less. The Florida boat sales-use tax cap has been signed into law, limiting the 6-percent Florida state sales tax on a boat purchase or the use tax for currently owned vessels to $18k. Bottom line is that no matter how big a yacht you buy in Florida after July 1, 2010, the most you will have to pay in taxes is $18,000. Now, smaller boat owners will be paying a much heftier tax, percentage-wise, on their boats than the yacht owners next door to them. The break is intended to help keep yacht purchases and jobs in the state, and for that matter, in the country, so let's hope it works. More details

Boat Safely

With or without new safety regulations, it's always smart to stay safe while boating. Visit our Safety on Boats for a few tips, and be careful out there!

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