FROM THE HELM Five-Year Coast Guard Documentation Over the last several months, there has been some talk on the internet (and one boating magazine publishing the news)—that documentation was being extended to five years, so I looked into it by going to the source. On Feb. 8, 2016, the 2015 Coast Guard Authorization Act (Public Law 114-120) became law and it required the U.S. Coast Guard to make certificates of documentation for recreational vessels effective for five years within one year of the date when the law became effective, which means their deadline was Feb. 8, 2017. On that date, I checked the Coast Guard Documentation web page to see if it had gone into effect (and there has been nothing since then as of early March). There was nothing on the web page, so I called the documentation center office. A Coast Guard representative called me back and said that it had not gone into effect, although their office had much earlier sent their recommendations on how to implement the five-year regulation up to higher levels, but no further word had been heard on the
subject. He also said there was a federal regulation freeze going on currently. I knew about the freeze, but I don’t believe that the current administration, which instituted the freeze, has the authority to overrule a congressionally mandated new rule. The representative just said they have not heard any talk about when the new rule would go into effect, or if it ever would.
Beware of Some Documentation Websites While looking into the five-year documentation subject, a reader contacted me about a website he went to where he updated his boat’s U.S.C.G. documentation. Although he had been renewing his documentation for many years, he mistook a website as the official Coast Guard documentation center. The site he went to was uscgdocumentation.us. He was charged a lot of unnecessary fees to renew his documentation, only to find out later he was not dealing directly with the Coast Guard. He wanted to get the word out to others.
Proposed Florida Law Would Have Limited Youth Sailing State Senator Farmer in the Florida Legislature has proposed the following bill—SB 1262 Boating in Salt Water: A bill to be entitled: [bill summary] An act relating to boating in salt water; creating s. 327.396, F.S.; defining terms; prohibiting minors of a certain age from operating vessels powered by a motor of 10 horsepower or greater or certain sailboats or other rigged vessels in salt water, except under specified conditions; providing penalties for parents or guardians who knowingly permit their children or wards to violate the prohibition; providing penalties for persons under the influence who supervise certain minors operating a specified vessel; providing an effective date. Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: Section 1. Section 327.396, Florida Statutes, is created to read: 327.396 Operation of a vessel by a minor.— (1) As used in this subsection, the term: (a) “Specified vessel” means a vessel powered by a motor of 10 horsepower or greater or a sailboat, or other rigged vessel, with a length of hull of 10 feet or more. The term does not include a sailboard or sail kayak. (b) “Under the influence” means a person meeting one of the standards specified in s. 327.35(1)(a), (b), or (c). A person may not operate a specified vessel in salt (2) water, as defined in s. 379.101, if the person is younger than 16 years of age, unless such person: (a) Is under the physical supervision of another person 21 years of age or older. Such supervising person may not be under the influence. (b) Is participating in a school-sanctioned activity. For the purposes of this section, the term “school”
means any elementary school, middle school, junior high school, secondary school, career center, or postsecondary school, whether public or nonpublic. (3)(a) A parent or guardian who knowingly permits his or her child or ward to operate a specified vessel in violation of paragraph (2)(a) commits a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083. (b) A person who supervises a minor as specified in paragraph (2)(b) and who is under the influence during the supervision commits a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083. Section 2. This act shall take effect October 1, 2017. The bill was reportedly proposed after two 14-year-olds from southeast Florida went missing in July 2015 after taking their 19-foot powerboat into the Atlantic Ocean to go fishing. They were never found. News of this proposed bill drew comments all over the internet about restricting sailing, especially from those who went out in small sailboats on their own when they were under 16 (including me). I assume many emailed Senator Farmer (I did) about how bad this bill was. Something seemed to have paid off, as on March 6, Senator Farmer backed out of the sailing limitation with this tweet: “Proud to work w/so many sailors to improve boat safety bill for kids under 16...will exempt sailing, lots of supervision & training. #SB1262.” Hurray for that!
Published on Mar 30, 2017
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