South Carolina General Assembly
125th Session, 2023-2024

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S. 96

STATUS INFORMATION

General Bill
Sponsors: Senators Campsen, Davis and McElveen
Document Path: SFGF-0002BC23.docx

Introduced in the Senate on January 10, 2023
Currently residing in the Senate Committee on Fish, Game and Forestry

Summary: Boating safety and education program

HISTORY OF LEGISLATIVE ACTIONS

Date Body Action Description with journal page number
11/30/2022 Senate Prefiled
11/30/2022 Senate Referred to Committee on Fish, Game and Forestry
1/10/2023 Senate Introduced and read first time (Senate Journal-page 58)
1/10/2023 Senate Referred to Committee on Fish, Game and Forestry (Senate Journal-page 58)

View the latest legislative information at the website

VERSIONS OF THIS BILL

12/2/2022



A bill

to amend the South Carolina Code of Laws by amending Section 50-21-10, relating to Definitions for the equipment and operation of watercraft, so as to PROVIDE THE DEFINITION OF PERSONAL WATERCRAFT; by amending Section 50-21-90, relating to THE Boating safety and educational program, so as to REQUIRE THE DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES TO ISSUE A BOATING SAFETY CERTIFICATE UPON THE COMPLETION OF CERTAIN REQUIREMENTS; TO AMEND ARTICLE 1, CHAPTER 21, TITLE 50, RELATING TO THE EQUIPMENT AND OPERATION OF WATERCRAFT, BY ADDING SECTION 50-21-95, so as to PROVIDE THAT IT IS UNLAWFUL FOR A PERSON TO OPERATE CERTAIN WATERCRAFT ON THE WATERS OF THIS STATE WITHOUT HAVING POSSESSION OF A BOATING SAFETY CERTIFICATE, WITH CERTAIN EXCEPTIONS; TO REPEAL SECTION 50-21-870(A)(1), RELATING TO THE DEFINITION FOR THE TERM "PERSONAL WATERCRAFT"; AND TO REPEAL SECTION 50-21-870(B)(9), RELATING TO THE OPERATION OF CERTAIN WATERCRAFT BY PERSONS YOUNGER THAN SIXTEEN YEARS OF AGE.

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:

SECTION 1.   Section 50-21-10 (20) through (29) of the S.C. Code are amended to read:

   (20) "Personal watercraft" means a vessel, usually less than sixteen feet in length, that uses an inboard, internal combustion engine powering a water jet pump as its primary source of propulsion and that is intended to be operated by a person sitting, standing, or kneeling on the vessel, rather than within the confines of the hull. Personal watercraft include a vessel commonly known as a "jet ski".

   (21) "Reportable boating accident" means an accident, collision, or other casualty involving a vessel subject to this chapter which results in loss of life, injury which results in loss of consciousness, necessity for medical treatment, necessity to carry a person from the scene, disability which prevents the discharge of normal duties beyond the day of casualty, or actual physical damage to property including vessels in excess of the minimum amount set by the United States Coast Guard for reportable accidents.

   (21)(22) "Serial number" means the identifying manufacturer's number affixed to a watercraft before November 2, 1972, and to outboard motors before, on, and after that date. The serial number of watercraft manufactured after November 1, 1972, is part of the hull identification number.

   (22)(23) "Temporary certificate of number" is a temporary registration assigned to a vessel to allow operation for a limited purpose.

   (23)(24) "Tender" means a small watercraft attendant to a larger vessel that meets United States Coast Guard requirements and is used solely for ferrying supplies or passengers and crew between its parent vessel and shore.

   (24)(25) "Use" means operate, navigate, or employ.

   (25)(26) "Vessel" means every description of watercraft, other than a seaplane regulated by the federal government, used or capable of being used as a means of transportation on water.

   (26)(27) "Water device" means a motorboat, boat, personal watercraft or vessel, water skis, an aquaplane, surfboard, or other similar device.

   (27)(28) "Waters of the State" means waters within the territorial limits of the State but not private lakes or ponds.

   (28)(29) "Watercraft" means any thing used or capable of being used as a means of transportation on the water but does not include: a seaplane regulated by the federal government, water skis, aquaplanes, surfboards, windsurfers, tubes, rafts, and similar devices or any thing that does not meet construction or operational requirements of the state or federal government for watercraft.

   (29)(30) "Wake surf" means to operate a vessel that is ballasted in the stern so as to create a wake that is, or is intended to be, surfed by another person.

SECTION 2.   Section 50-21-90 of the S.C. Code is amended to read:

   Section 50-21-90.   (A) The department is hereby authorized to inaugurate a comprehensive boating safety and boating educational program, and to seek the cooperation of boatmen, the federal government and other states. The department must administer a boating safety education course and may approve of additional boating safety education courses. A list of approved courses must be provided on the department's website.

   (B) The following persons must be provided a South Carolina boating safety certificate in both physical and electronic forms by the department:

      (1) a person who successfully completes a boating safety education course administered or approved by the department;

      (2) a person who provides satisfactory proof to the department that the person was issued a boating safety certificate, or an equivalency, by another state; and

      (3) a person who provides satisfactory proof to the department that the person was issued a license to operate a vessel by the United States Coast Guard or was issued a merchant mariner credential by the United States Coast Guard.

SECTION 3.   Article 1, Chapter 21, Title 50 of the S.C. Code is amended by adding:

   Section 50-21-95.   (A) It is unlawful for a person to operate upon the waters of this State a vessel powered by an engine of ten horsepower or greater, a personal watercraft, or a specialty propcraft without having possession of a South Carolina boating safety certificate issued by the department in the person's name, unless the person:

      (1) was born on or before July 1, 2007;

      (2) is in possession of a license to operate a vessel issued by the United States Coast Guard in the person's name, regardless of the expiration date on the license;

      (3) is in possession of a merchant mariner credential issued by the United States Coast Guard in the person's name, regardless of the expiration date on the credential;

      (4) is a nonresident in possession of a boating safety certificate, or an equivalency, issued by another state in the nonresident's name;

      (5) is exempt pursuant to a regulation promulgated by the department; or

      (6) is accompanied by a person at least eighteen years old who:

         (a) is in possession of a South Carolina boating safety certificate issued by the department in the person's name; or

         (b) meets one of the criteria in items (1) through (5) of this subsection.

   (B) A person who is adjudicated to be in violation of this section must be fined not less than fifty dollars and not more than three hundred dollars, no part of which may be suspended. No court costs, assessments, or surcharges may be assessed against a person who violates this section. A custodial arrest for a violation of this section must not be made, except upon a warrant issued for failure to appear in court when summoned or for failure to pay an imposed fine. A violation of this section does not constitute a criminal offense and must not be included in the records maintained by the department or in the records maintained by SLED.

SECTION 4.   Sections 50-21-870(A)(1) and 50-21-870(B)(9) of the S.C. Code are repealed.

SECTION 5.   This act takes effect July 1, 2023.

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This web page was last updated on January 24, 2023 at 5:20 PM