Administrative Code

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Virginia Administrative Code
Title 4. Conservation And Natural Resources
Agency 15. Department of Wildlife Resources
Chapter 430. Watercraft: Safety Equipment Requirements

4VAC15-430-20. Definitions.

As used in this chapter the following words and terms shall have the following meanings:

"Coastal waters" means the territorial seas of the United States, and those waters directly connected to the territorial seas (i.e., bays, sounds, harbors, rivers, inlets, etc.) where any entrance exceeds two nautical miles between opposite shorelines to the first point where the largest distance between shorelines narrows to two miles, as shown on the current edition of the appropriate National Ocean Service chart used for navigation. Shorelines of islands or points of land present within a waterway are considered when determining the distance between opposite shorelines.

"Passenger" means every person carried on board a vessel other than:

1. The owner or his representative;

2. The operator;

3. Bona fide members of the crew engaged in the business of the vessel who have contributed no consideration for their carriage and who are paid for their services; or

4. Any guest on board a vessel that is being used exclusively for pleasure purposes who has not contributed any consideration, directly or indirectly, for his carriage.

"Personal flotation device" or "PFD" means a device that is approved by the U.S. Coast Guard.

"Racing shell, rowing scull, racing canoe, and racing kayak" means a manually propelled vessel that is recognized by national or international racing associations for use in competitive racing and one in which all occupants row, scull, or paddle, with the exception of a coxswain, if one is provided, and is not designed to carry and does not carry any equipment not solely for competitive racing.

"Recreational vessel" means any vessel being manufactured or operated primarily for pleasure, or leased, rented, or chartered to another for the latter's pleasure. It does not include any vessel engaged in the carrying of any passengers for consideration.

"Sailboard" means a sail-propelled vessel with no freeboard and equipped with a swivel-mounted mast not secured to a hull by guys or stays.

"Throwable PFD" means a PFD that is intended to be thrown to a person in the water. A wearable PFD is not a throwable PFD.

"Use" means operate, navigate, or employ.

"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, but does not include surfboards, tubes, swimming rafts, inflatable toys, and similar devices routinely used as water toys or swimming aids.

"Visual distress signal" means a device that is approved by the U.S. Coast Guard or certified by the manufacturer.

"Wearable PFD" means a PFD that is intended to be worn or otherwise attached to the body.

Statutory Authority

§§ 29.1-701 and 29.1-735 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 19, Issue 5, eff. January 1, 2003; amended, Virginia Register Volume 36, Issue 2, eff. October 1, 2019; Volume 39, Issue 9, eff. January 1, 2023.

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