A N A C T
RELATING TO WATERS AND NAVIGATION
It is enacted by the General Assembly as follows:
SECTION 1. Chapter 46-22 of the General Laws entitled "Regulation of Boats" is hereby amended by adding thereto the following section:
46-22-9.8. Certificate of boating safety education. -- (a)(1) No person born on or after January 1, 1986 shall operate a vessel that is fitted with propulsion machinery of more than ten (10) horsepower on the waters of this state unless said person shall have successfully completed a boating safety education program as approved by the director of the Department of Environmental Management.
(2) The content of acceptable boating safety education programs shall meet the minimum standards and guidelines and be approved by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA). Acceptable programs shall include those NASBLA approved courses offered by the state, the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary, the United States Power Squadrons or any other course approved by the director.
(3) Instructors shall meet the minimum requirements as established by NASBLA and shall be certified by the state.
(4) Upon completion of a boating safety course, a written test shall be administered under the direct supervision of a certified instructor. The test shall include at least twenty-five (25) questions, scored on a one hundred percent (100%) scale, and have a passing grade of seventy percent (70%) or better. Test results shall be maintained by the Department of Environmental Management, Division of Enforcement.
(5) The department shall issue a durable certificate of completion that meets the NASBLA guidelines. The certificate of completion shall be presented upon request of any authorized law enforcement officer to show proof of compliance.
(6) A challenge exam, meeting the standards of subsection (4) proctored and administered by a certified instructor shall be made available to those individuals that wish to review the requirements of this section. The exam may be administered to a candidate two (2) times. Failure of the examination on the second attempt will require the candidate to retake and/or complete the same and/or a different boating safety education program as provided for in this section.
(7)(i) Any person having in his or her possession a certificate of completion of any boating safety course approved by NASBLA shall be considered to be in compliance with this chapter and can request that a certificate be issued by the department.
(ii)(A) The following persons shall be exempt from the educational provisions of this chapter provided that they can provide proof of exemption:
(I) A person who operates a vessel under training, directly supervised by a person on board the vessel who is eighteen (18) years of age or older and meets the requirements of (a)(1) of this section;
(II) A person who holds a valid commercial vessel operator's license issued by the United States Cost Guard, a state, or a province;
(III) Non-residents temporarily using the waters of this state who meet the requirements of their state of legal residence.
(iii) New residents of this state will be given sixty (60) days to meet the requirements of this chapter.
(iv) Boat liveries that rent out boats or vessels fitted with propulsion machinery greater than ten (10) horse power shall require all renters who do not comply with this section to watch a short instructional video approved by the director on boating safety for the type of craft rented, and pass a written examination.
(8) Any person operating a personal watercraft as defined in section 46-22-2(6) on the waters of this state shall have successfully completed a boating safety education program as approved by the director of the Department of Environmental Management.
(9) Any person who violates any provision of this section shall be sanctioned as follows:
(i) for a first offense completion of an approved boating safety course;
(ii) for a second offense a fine not to exceed one hundred dollars ($100).
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect on January 1, 2002.