Administrative Code

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Virginia Administrative Code
Title 4. Conservation And Natural Resources
Agency 15. Department of Wildlife Resources
Chapter 410. Watercraft: Boating Safety Education

4VAC15-410-20. Definitions.

As used in this chapter, unless the context clearly requires a different meaning, the following words and terms shall have the following meanings:

"Approved course provider" is any individual, business, or organization that makes available to the boating public a boating safety education course approved by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators and accepted by the department. An approved course provider shall have executed and have on file a valid cooperative agreement with the department. Persons who simply provide classroom instruction for an approved course provider shall not be considered an approved course provider. The department will make information regarding such approved courses and providers readily available for public access.

"Board" means the Board of Wildlife Resources.

"Boating safety education course" means a course offered in the classroom, through the Internet, or through an electronic format such as CD-ROM that provides a course content and test questions that have been reviewed and approved by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators in accordance with the National Boating Education Standards, updated January 1, 2008, and accepted by the department. A boating safety education course shall include no less than 50 test questions, which shall include at least 10 test questions specific about Virginia boating laws.

"Department" means the Department of Wildlife Resources.

"Dockside safety checklist" means a document provided by the department that consists of selected facts about Virginia boating laws and safe boat operation that a rental or livery agent or motorboat leasing business is required to present to those who rent or lease a motorboat or personal watercraft. The dockside safety checklist must be reviewed and initialed by the person operating the motorboat before the boat can be rented or leased and operated.

"Equivalency exam" means a written examination that is developed by the department to test the knowledge of information included in the curriculum of a boating safety education course (may also be referred to as a challenge exam). The equivalency exam is intended to provide experienced and knowledgeable boaters with the opportunity to meet the boating safety education compliance requirement set forth in § 29.1-735.2 of the Code of Virginia without having to take and successfully complete a boating safety education course. The equivalency exam shall be comprised of no less than 75 or more than 100 test questions, shall include no less than 25 questions specific about Virginia boating laws, shall be proctored by an individual specifically designated by the department, and shall be completed without the use of any reference material. A minimum score of at least 80% shall be considered passing.

"Motorboat" means any vessel propelled by machinery whether or not the machinery is the principal source of propulsion and for this chapter shall mean with a motor of 10 horsepower or greater.

"NASBLA" means the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators.

"NASBLA-approved course" means a boating safety education course that has been reviewed and approved by NASBLA.

"Onboard direct supervision" as referenced in § 29.1-735.2 B 6 and B 9 of the Code of Virginia occurs when a person maintains close visual and verbal contact with, provides adequate direction to, and can immediately assume control of a motorboat from the operator of a motorboat. A person who is water skiing, or is in the cabin of a motorboat and not at the helm/wheel is not considered to be in a position capable of providing direct supervision.

"Operate" means to navigate or otherwise control the movement of a motorboat or vessel.

"Optional Virginia Boater Education Card" means a card authorized for issuance by the department to persons who (i) can show they have met the minimum standard of boating safety education course competency, (ii) possess a valid license to operate a vessel issued to maritime personnel by the United States Coast Guard or a marine certificate issued by the Canadian government, (iii) possess a Canadian Pleasure Craft Operator's Card, or (iv) possess a valid commercial fisherman registration pursuant to § 28.2-241 of the Code of Virginia. For the purpose of this subsection a license is considered valid regardless of whether the license is current. This card may be issued as a replacement boating safety course card.

"Personal watercraft" means a motorboat less than 16 feet in length that uses an inboard motor powering a jet pump as its primary motive power and that is designed to be operated by a person sitting, standing, or kneeling on, rather than in the conventional manner of sitting or standing inside the vessel.

"Proctored" means that the written equivalency exam has been administered under the direct supervision of (i) a designated member of the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary or the United States Power Squadrons®, (ii) a designated department employee or a department volunteer boating safety instructor, or (iii) an individual who has been approved for such purpose by the department.

"Temporary operator's certificate" means a nonrenewable document issued with the certificate of number for the motorboat or personal watercraft, if the boat is new or was sold with a transfer of ownership. A temporary operator's certificate shall be issued only by the department, by any person authorized by the director to act as an agent to issue a certificate of number pursuant to § 29.1-706 of the Code of Virginia, or by a license agent of the department authorized to issue a temporary registration certificate for a motorboat or personal watercraft. A temporary operator's certificate shall allow the owner to operate a motorboat with a motor of 10 horsepower or greater or personal watercraft in Virginia for 90 days.

"Vessel" means every description of watercraft, other than a seaplane on the water, used or capable of being used as a means of transportation on water.

"Waters of the Commonwealth" means any public waters within the territorial limits of the Commonwealth.

Statutory Authority

§§ 29.1-103, 29.1-501, and 29.1-502 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 24, Issue 23, eff. July 1, 2008; amended, Virginia Register Volume 29, Issue 9, eff. January 1, 2013; Volume 37, Issue 5, eff. January 1, 2021.

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