Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 29.1. Wildlife, Inland Fisheries and Boating
Subtitle .
Chapter 7. Boating Laws
11/28/2022

Chapter 7. Boating Laws.

Article 1. Boat Registration and Identification.

§ 29.1-700. Definitions.

As used in this chapter, unless the context clearly requires a different meaning:

"Motorboat" means any vessel propelled by machinery whether or not the machinery is the principal source of propulsion.

"No wake" means operation of a motorboat at the slowest possible speed required to maintain steerage and headway.

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

"Owner" means a person, other than a lien holder, having the property in or title to a motorboat. The term includes a person entitled to the use or possession of a motorboat subject to an interest in another person, reserved or created by agreement and securing payment of performance of an obligation, but the term excludes a lessee under a lease not intended as security.

"Personal watercraft" means a motorboat less than sixteen feet in length which uses an inboard motor powering a jet pump, as its primary motive power and which 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.

"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, the adjacent marginal sea and the high seas when navigated as a part of a journey or ride to or from the Virginia shore.

Code 1960, c. 500, § 62-174.2; 1962, c. 626; 1968, c. 659, § 62.1-167; 1972, c. 412; 1987, c. 488; 1998, cc. 84, 443, 512, 514, 515, 533, 537, 563.

§ 29.1-701. Department to administer chapter; Motorboat Committee; funds for administration; records; rules and regulations.

A. It shall be the duty of the Department to enforce and administer the provisions of this chapter.

B. The chairman of the Board shall designate from among the members of the Board three members who shall serve as the Motorboat Committee. This committee shall place special emphasis on the administration and enforcement of this chapter.

C. All expenses required for administration and enforcement of this chapter shall be paid from the funds collected pursuant to the numbering and certificate of title provisions of this chapter. All moneys collected pursuant to the numbering and certificate of title provisions of this chapter shall be deposited into the state treasury credited to a special fund, known as the game protection fund, and accounted for as a separate part to be designated as the motorboat and water safety fund. Such moneys shall be made available to the Department solely for the administration and enforcement of this chapter, for educational activities relating to boating safety and for other activities and purposes of direct benefit to the boating public. Moneys from the motorboat and water safety fund shall not be diverted to any other state agency. The motorboat and water safety fund and moneys otherwise provided for in this chapter shall be made available to carry out the intent and purposes as set forth in this chapter in accordance with plans approved by the Board. All such funds are hereby reserved until expended for the enforcement, administration and other provisions of this chapter. However, the Board is authorized to adopt a plan or formula for the use of these moneys for employing and equipping any additional personnel necessary to carry out the provisions of this chapter and for paying a proportionate share of the salaries, expense, and operational costs of existing personnel according to the time and effort expended by them in carrying out the provisions of this chapter. Such plan or formula may be altered or amended from time to time by the Board as existing conditions may warrant. No funds derived from the sale of hunting licenses or fishing licenses shall be expended or diverted for carrying out the provisions of this chapter.

D. The Department shall maintain a record of all certificates of title it issues. The certificates of title may be located (i) under a distinctive title number assigned to each watercraft, (ii) under the hull identification number of each watercraft, (iii) under the registration number, (iv) alphabetically under the name of the owner, and (v) at the discretion of the Board by any additional methods it determines.

E. The Board shall make such rules and regulations as it deems necessary and proper for the effective administration of this chapter. The proposal and adoption of rules and regulations shall take place as prescribed in Article 1 (§ 29.1-500 et seq.) of Chapter 5 of this title and all rules and regulations shall be published by the Board in a convenient form. The Board shall cooperate with the Department of Taxation in issuing titles and collecting tax thereon.

1960, c. 500, § 62-174.3; 1968, c. 659, § 62.1-168; 1972, c. 412; 1981, c. 405; 1987, cc. 101, 488.

§ 29.1-701.1. Authority of Board to set fees.

Notwithstanding any other provision of this title, the Board may by regulation adopt revisions in the fees, as it deems appropriate, charged for motorboat registration certificates and certificates of title under this chapter. Such license fees may be increased or decreased beginning July 1, 2004; however, no fee shall be increased or decreased more frequently than once every three years thereafter and no fee shall be increased or decreased more than $5 during such period.

2004, c. 1027.

§ 29.1-702. Registration requirements; display of numbers; cancellation of certificate; exemption.

A. 1. The owner of each motorboat requiring numbering by the Commonwealth shall file an application for a number with the Department on forms approved by it. The owner of the motorboat or the owner's agent shall sign the application and pay the following boat registration fee:

a. For a motorboat under 16 feet, $18;

b. For a motorboat 16 feet to less than 20 feet, $22;

c. For a motorboat 20 feet to less than 40 feet, $28;

d. For a motorboat 40 feet and over, $36.

2. Owners, other than manufacturers or dealers, of more than 10 motorboats numbered by the Commonwealth, shall pay $18 each for the first 10 such boats and $12 for each additional boat.

3. Upon receipt of the application in approved form, the Department shall have the application entered upon the records of its office and issue to the applicant a certificate of number stating the identification number awarded to the motorboat and the name, address and a social security number or numbers, or federal tax identification number of the owner or owners. Any certificate issued in accordance with this chapter shall expire three years from the last day of the month in which it was issued. Upon proper application and payment of fee, and in the discretion of the Director, the certificate may be renewed.

B. The owner shall paint on or attach to each side of the bow of the motorboat the identification number in the manner prescribed by rules and regulations of the Board. The number shall be maintained in legible condition. The certificate of number shall be pocket-size and shall be available for inspection on the motorboat for which issued whenever such motorboat is in operation. However, the certificate of number for any vessel less than 26 feet in length, and leased or rented to another for the lessee's noncommercial use for less than 24 hours, may be retained on shore by the vessel's owner or his representative at the place at which the vessel departs and returns to the possession of the owner or his representative, provided the vessel is appropriately identified as to its owner while in use under such lease or rental.

C. No number other than the number awarded to a motorboat or granted reciprocity pursuant to this chapter shall be displayed on either side of the bow of the motorboat.

D. The Department is authorized to cancel and recall any certificate of number issued by the Department when it appears proper payment has not been made for the certificate of number or when the certificate has been improperly or erroneously issued.

E. Any motorboat purchased and used by a nonprofit volunteer emergency medical services agency or volunteer fire department shall be exempt from the registration fees imposed by subsection A.

1960, c. 500, § 62-174.5; 1962, c. 626; 1964, c. 654; 1968, c. 659, § 62.1-170; 1970, c. 240; 1972, c. 412; 1980, c. 256; 1983, c. 126; 1986, c. 125; 1987, c. 488; 1990, c. 321; 1991, c. 82; 1992, c. 250; 2012, c. 233; 2015, cc. 502, 503.

§ 29.1-702.1. Making false affidavit or swearing falsely, perjury; penalty.

Any person who knowingly makes any false affidavit or knowingly swears to or affirms falsely any matter or thing required by this chapter or Chapter 8 (§ 29.1-800 et seq.) of this title or by the Director incidental to his administration of the boating laws shall, upon conviction, be guilty of perjury.

1990, c. 321.

§ 29.1-703. Identification numbers required; decals.

Every motorboat on the waters of this Commonwealth shall be numbered except those specifically exempt in § 29.1-710. No person shall operate or give permission for the operation of any motorboat on such waters unless the motorboat is numbered in accordance with this chapter, federal law, or a federally approved numbering system of another state, or has been issued a temporary registration certificate pursuant to the provisions of § 29.1-703.1. In addition to the numbering requirements, (i) the certificate of number awarded or temporary registration certificate issued to the motorboat must be in effect, (ii) the identifying number set forth in the certificate of number must be displayed on each side of the bow of the motorboat, and (iii) decals signifying the last month and year during which the certificate of number is valid must be displayed on each side of the motorboat within six inches of the registration number so as to be visible while the motorboat is being operated. Decals will be furnished with each certificate of number issued or reissued by the Department. Expired decals must be removed from the vessel. Upon written request and for good cause, the Board may allow exceptions to the requirement to display decals. If a decal becomes defaced, lost or destroyed, application for replacement shall be made to the Board within fifteen days. A fee of one dollar shall be charged for each decal or set of decals replaced. Decals must be displayed upon the watercraft for which they were purchased and are not transferable.

1960, c. 500, § 62-174.4; 1962, c. 626; 1968, c. 659, § 62.1-169; 1984, c. 3; 1987, c. 488; 1995, c. 241.

§ 29.1-703.1. Temporary registration certificate; fee; application.

A. An owner may obtain a temporary registration certificate from the Department or an authorized agent of the Department. The fee for the temporary registration certificate shall be ten dollars. Each temporary registration certificate issued shall be valid for a period of thirty days from the date of issuance. To qualify for a temporary registration certificate, the owner shall provide his name and address (including zip code), sufficient proof of ownership as determined by the Department and a description of the motorboat to include the: present number on the boat (if any); make and model; type of propulsion; year of manufacture; length as measured along the centerline; hull identification number; state of principal use; and required fee. Application for the permanent certificate of number and certificate of title (if applicable) with applicable fees shall be submitted to the Department immediately upon receipt of a temporary registration certificate.

B. A temporary registration certificate shall not be valid as proof of ownership for any vessel.

1995, c. 241.

§ 29.1-703.2. Designation of agents; compensation to agents; deposit of temporary registration certificate moneys.

A. The Director may authorize any person to act as an agent to issue temporary registration certificates. Persons accepting such authorization may be issued temporary registration certificates which upon issuance, in conformity with this chapter and with any rules and regulations of the Board, shall be valid as if issued directly by the Director.

B. Notwithstanding the provisions of § 2.2-1802, the money received for temporary registration certificates issued pursuant to § 29.1-703.1 shall be paid by each agent to the Department for payment into the state treasury. All moneys collected by the Department from the issuance of temporary registration certificates shall be deposited into the game protection fund and credited to the motorboat and water safety fund.

C. As compensation for such service, agents shall add and retain an amount equal to the fee provided to agents for the sale of hunting and fishing licenses as provided in § 29.1-332.

D. Remittance to the Department shall be made by each agent as required by the Department.

1995, c. 241.

§ 29.1-704. Recording previously awarded numbers.

The owner of any motorboat already covered by a number in effect which has been awarded to it pursuant to then operative federal law or pursuant to a federally approved numbering system of another state shall record the number prior to operating the motorboat on the waters of this Commonwealth in excess of the ninety-day reciprocity period provided for in § 29.1-710. Such recordation shall be in the manner and pursuant to the procedure required for the award of a number under § 29.1-702, except that no additional or substitute number shall be issued.

1960, c. 500, § 62-174.5; 1962, c. 626; 1964, c. 654; 1968, c. 659, § 62.1-170; 1970, c. 240; 1972, c. 412; 1980, c. 256; 1983, c. 126; 1986, c. 125; 1987, c. 488.

§ 29.1-705. Change of ownership of motorboat; lost certificates.

Should the ownership of a numbered motorboat change, a new application form with the appropriate fee as provided in § 29.1-702 shall be filed with the Department, and a new certificate bearing the same number shall be awarded in the manner as provided for in an original award of number. If the registration of the former owner is valid and the new owner has in his possession the dated bill of sale and the valid registration card of the former owner, the new owner may operate the vessel for thirty days from the date of purchase. If a certificate is lost, a new certificate bearing the same number shall be issued upon payment of a fee of fifty cents. Possession of the certificate shall in cases involving prosecution for violation of any provision of this chapter be prima facie evidence that the person whose name appears thereon is the owner of the boat.

1960, c. 500, § 62-174.5; 1962, c. 626; 1964, c. 654; 1968, c. 659, § 62.1-170; 1970, c. 240; 1972, c. 412; 1980, c. 256; 1983, c. 126; 1986, c. 125; 1987, c. 488.

§ 29.1-706. Agents awarding numbers.

The Director may award any certificate of number directly or may authorize any person to act as an agent to make award. Persons accepting such authorization may be assigned a block of numbers and certificates which upon award, in conformity with this chapter and with any rules and regulations of the Board, shall be valid as if awarded directly by the Director.

1960, c. 500, § 62-174.5; 1962, c. 626; 1964, c. 654; 1968, c. 659, § 62.1-170; 1970, c. 240; 1972, c. 412; 1980, c. 256; 1983, c. 126; 1986, c. 125; 1987, c. 488.

§ 29.1-707. Records.

All records of the Department made or kept pursuant to this section shall be public records and shall be open for inspection subject to conditions the Board may prescribe. The Director shall furnish, without cost, the annual lists of boat registrations, as of January 1, to the commissioners of revenue of each county or city, except that the Director shall not send the lists to any commissioner who requests that he not receive them.

1960, c. 500, § 62-174.5; 1962, c. 626; 1964, c. 654; 1968, c. 659, § 62.1-170; 1970, c. 240; 1972, c. 412; 1980, c. 256; 1983, c. 126; 1986, c. 125; 1987, c. 488.

§ 29.1-708. Transfer, destruction or abandonment of motorboat.

The owner shall furnish the Department with notice of (i) the transfer of all or any part of his interest other than the creation of a security interest in a motorboat numbered in Virginia pursuant to § 29.1-702 or § 29.1-704 or (ii) the destruction or abandonment of such motorboat, within fifteen days thereof. Such transfer, destruction, or abandonment shall terminate the certificate of number for the motorboat except that, in the case of a transfer of a part interest which does not affect the owner's right to operate such motorboat, the transfer shall not terminate the certificate of number.

1960, c. 500, § 62-174.5; 1962, c. 626; 1964, c. 654; 1968, c. 659, § 62.1-170; 1970, c. 240; 1972, c. 412; 1980, c. 256; 1983, c. 126; 1986, c. 125; 1987, c. 488.

§ 29.1-709. Change of address of certificate holder.

Any holder of a certificate of number shall notify the Department within fifteen days if his address appearing on the certificate changes, and he shall furnish the Department with his new address. The Board may provide in its rules and regulations for the surrender of the certificate bearing the former address and for certificate replacements or alterations bearing the new address.

1960, c. 500, § 62-174.5; 1962, c. 626; 1964, c. 654; 1968, c. 659, § 62.1-170; 1970, c. 240; 1972, c. 412; 1980, c. 256; 1983, c. 126; 1986, c. 125; 1987, c. 488.

§ 29.1-710. Exemption from numbering requirements.

A motorboat shall not be required to be numbered under this chapter if it is:

1. A motorboat which has been awarded a number pursuant to federal law or a federally approved numbering system of another state if the boat has been within the Commonwealth for less than ninety consecutive days.

2. A motorboat from a country other than the United States temporarily using the waters of the Commonwealth.

3. A motorboat which is used in a governmental function by the United States, a state or a subdivision of the state.

4. A ship's lifeboat.

5. A vessel which has a valid marine document issued by the Bureau of Customs of the United States government or any federal agency successor thereto.

6. A racing boat used during an authorized race and during a twenty-four-hour period before and after the race.

7. A motorboat belonging to a class of vessels which has been exempted from numbering by a regulation adopted by the Board after the Board has found that applicable federal law or federal regulation has exempted, or permitted the exemption of, such class of vessels.

8. A motorboat for which (i) a valid temporary registration certificate has been issued by the Department or an authorized agent of the Department, and (ii) an application has been made for a permanent registration and title (if applicable).

1960, c. 500, § 62-174.7; 1962, c. 626; 1964, c. 654; 1968, c. 659, § 62.1-173; 1972, c. 412; 1987, c. 488; 1995, c. 241.

§ 29.1-711. Dealers and manufacturers of motorboats.

The following shall apply to dealers and manufacturers:

1. The registering and numbering requirements of this chapter shall apply to dealers and manufacturers of motorboats.

2. Applications for certificates of number shall be made on the approved application form prescribed in this chapter. Dealers and manufacturers shall certify that they are dealers or manufacturers.

3. Applications shall be accompanied by a fee of twenty-five dollars for dealers and forty dollars for manufacturers, by check or money order, and shall be forwarded to the Department.

4. Upon receipt by the Department of a properly completed application and fee, it shall issue to the applicant a dealer's or manufacturer's certificate of number, as appropriate, which may be used in connection with the operation of any motorboat in the possession of the dealer or manufacturer when the boat is being used for demonstration purposes.

5. Additional dealer's or manufacturer's certificates of number may be obtained by applying in the same manner as prescribed for the initial certificate with payment of an additional fee of twelve dollars for each additional certificate.

6. Manufacturers or dealers may have the number or numbers awarded to them printed upon or attached to a removable sign or signs to be temporarily but firmly mounted upon or attached to the boat being demonstrated, so long as the display meets the requirements of this chapter.

1960, c. 500, § 62-174.5; 1962, c. 626; 1964, c. 654; 1968, c. 659, § 62.1-170; 1970, c. 240; 1972, c. 412; 1980, c. 256; 1983, c. 126; 1986, c. 125; 1987, c. 488; 1990, c. 321.

Article 2. Watercraft Titling Certificates [Repealed].

§ 29.1-712. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 2013, c. 787, cl. 2, effective July 1, 2014.

Article 2.1. Virginia Uniform Certificate of Title for Watercraft Act.

§ 29.1-733.2. Definitions.

The definitions in this section do not apply to any Virginia or federal law governing licensing, numbering, or registration if the same term is used in that law. As used in this article, unless the context requires a different meaning:

"Abandoned watercraft" means a watercraft that is left unattended on private property for more than 10 days without the consent of the property's owner, regardless of whether it was brought onto the private property with the consent of the owner or person in control of the private property.

"Agreement" means the same as that term is defined in subdivision (b)(3) of § 8.1A-201.

"Barge" means a watercraft that is not self-propelled or fitted for propulsion by sail, paddle, oar, or similar device.

"Builder's certificate" means a certificate of the facts of the build of a vessel described in 46 C.F.R. § 67.99, as amended.

"Buyer" means a person that buys or contracts to buy a watercraft.

"Buyer in ordinary course of business" means the same as that term is defined in subdivision (b)(9) of § 8.1A-201.

"Cancel," with respect to a certificate of title, means to make the certificate ineffective.

"Certificate of origin" means a record created by a manufacturer or importer as the manufacturer's or importer's proof of identity of a watercraft. The term includes a manufacturer's certificate or statement of origin and an importer's certificate or statement of origin. The term does not include a builder's certificate.

"Certificate of title" means a record, created by the Department under this article or by a governmental agency of another jurisdiction under the law of that jurisdiction that is designated as a certificate of title by the Department or agency and is evidence of ownership of a watercraft.

"Conspicuous" means the same as that term is defined in subdivision (b)(10) of § 8.1A-201.

"Consumer goods" means the same as that term is defined in subdivision (a)(23) of § 8.9A-102.

"Dealer" means any watercraft dealer as defined in § 29.1-801.

"Debtor" means the same as that term is defined in subdivision (a)(28) of § 8.9A-102.

"Documented vessel" means a watercraft covered by a certificate of documentation issued pursuant to 46 U.S.C. § 12105, as amended. The term does not include a foreign-documented vessel.

"Electronic" means relating to technology having electrical, digital, magnetic, wireless, optical, electromagnetic, or similar capabilities.

"Electronic certificate of title" means a certificate of title consisting of information that is stored solely in an electronic medium and is retrievable in perceivable form.

"Foreign-documented vessel" means a watercraft whose ownership is recorded in a registry maintained by a country other than the United States that identifies each person that has an ownership interest in a watercraft and includes a unique alphanumeric designation for the watercraft.

"Good faith" means honesty in fact and the observance of reasonable commercial standards of fair dealing.

"Hull damaged" means compromised with respect to the integrity of a watercraft's hull by a collision, allision, lightning strike, fire, explosion, running aground, or similar occurrence, or the sinking of a watercraft in a manner that creates a significant risk to the integrity of the watercraft's hull.

"Hull identification number" means the alphanumeric designation assigned to a watercraft pursuant to 33 C.F.R. Part 181, as amended.

"Knowledge" means the same as that term is defined in § 8.1A-202.

"Lease" means the same as that term is defined in subdivision (1)(j) of § 8.2A-103.

"Lessor" means the same as that term is defined in subdivision (1)(p) of § 8.2A-103.

"Lien creditor," with respect to a watercraft, means:

1. A creditor that has acquired a lien on the watercraft by attachment, levy, or the like;

2. An assignee for benefit of creditors from the time of assignment;

3. A trustee in bankruptcy from the date of the filing of the petition; or

4. A receiver in equity from the time of appointment.

"Notice" means the same as that term is defined in § 8.1A-202.

"Owner" means a person that has legal title to a watercraft.

"Owner of record" means the owner indicated in the files of the Department or, if the files indicate more than one owner, the one first indicated.

"Person" means an individual, corporation, business trust, estate, trust, statutory trust, partnership, limited liability company, association, joint venture, public corporation, government or governmental subdivision, agency or instrumentality, or any other legal or commercial entity.

"Purchase" means to take by sale, lease, mortgage, pledge, consensual lien, security interest, gift, or any other voluntary transaction that creates an interest in a watercraft.

"Purchaser" means a person that takes by purchase.

"Record" means information that is inscribed on a tangible medium or that is stored in an electronic or other medium and is retrievable in perceivable form.

"Registration number" means the alphanumeric designation for a vessel issued pursuant to 46 U.S.C. § 12301, as amended.

"Representative" means the same as that term is defined in subdivision (b)(33) of § 8.1A-201.

"Sale" means the same as that term is defined in § 8.2-106.

"Secured party," with respect to a watercraft, means a person:

1. In whose favor a security interest is created or provided for under a security agreement, whether or not any obligation to be secured is outstanding;

2. That is a consignor under Title 8.9A; or

3. That holds a security interest arising under § 8.2-401 or 8.2-505, subsection (3) of § 8.2-711, or subsection (5) of § 8.2A-508.

"Secured party of record" means the secured party whose name is indicated as the name of the secured party in the files of the Department or, if the files indicate more than one secured party, the one first indicated.

"Security agreement" means the same as that term is defined in subdivision (a)(74) of § 8.9A-102.

"Security interest" means an interest in a watercraft that secures payment or performance of an obligation if the interest is created by contract or arises under § 8.2-401 or 8.2-505, subsection (3) of § 8.2-711, or subsection (5) of § 8.2A-508. The term includes any interest of a consignor in a watercraft in a transaction that is subject to Title 8.9A. The term does not include the special property interest of a buyer of a watercraft on identification of that watercraft to a contract for sale under § 8.2-401, but a buyer also may acquire a security interest by complying with Title 8.9A. Except as otherwise provided in § 8.2-505, the right of a seller or lessor of a watercraft under Title 8.2 or Title 8.2A to retain or acquire possession of the watercraft is not a security interest, but a seller or lessor also may acquire a security interest by complying with Title 8.9A. The retention or reservation of title by a seller of a watercraft notwithstanding shipment or delivery to the buyer under § 8.2-401 is limited in effect to a reservation of a security interest. Whether a transaction in the form of a lease creates a security interest is determined by § 8.1A-304.

"Seller" means the same as that term is defined in subdivision (1)(o) of § 8.2A-103.

"Send" means the same as that term is defined in subdivision (b)(36) of § 8.1A-201.

"Sign" means, with present intent to authenticate or adopt a record, to:

1. Make or adopt a tangible symbol; or

2. Attach to or logically associate with the record an electronic symbol, sound, or process.

"State" means a state of the United States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the United States Virgin Islands, or any territory or insular possession subject to the jurisdiction of the United States.

"State of principal use" means the state on whose waters a watercraft is or will be used, operated, navigated, or employed more than on the waters of any other state during a calendar year.

"Title brand" means a designation of previous damage, use, or condition that shall be indicated on a certificate of title.

"Transfer of ownership" means a voluntary or involuntary conveyance of an interest in a watercraft.

"Value" means the same as that term is defined in § 8.1A-204.

"Watercraft" means any vessel that is used or capable of being used as a means of transportation on water and is propelled by machinery, whether or not the machinery is the principal source of propulsion, except:

1. A seaplane;

2. An amphibious vehicle for which a certificate of title is issued pursuant to Chapter 6 (§ 46.2-600 et seq.) of Title 46.2 or a similar statute of another state;

3. A vessel that measures 18 feet or less in length along the centerline and is propelled by sail;

4. A vessel that operates only on a permanently fixed, manufactured course and whose movement is restricted to or guided by means of a mechanical device to which the vessel is attached or by which the vessel is controlled;

5. A stationary floating structure that:

a. Does not have and is not designed to have a mode of propulsion of its own;

b. Is dependent for utilities upon a continuous utility hookup to a source originating on shore; and

c. Has a permanent, continuous hookup to a shoreside sewage system;

6. A vessel owned by the United States, a state, or a foreign government or a political subdivision of any of them;

7. A vessel used solely as a lifeboat on another vessel; or

8. A vessel that has a valid marine document issued by the United States Coast Guard.

"Written certificate of title" means a certificate of title consisting of information inscribed on a tangible medium.

2013, c. 787; 2014, c. 371.

§ 29.1-733.3. Applicability.

Subject to § 29.1-733.29, this article applies to any transaction, certificate of title, or record relating to a watercraft, even if the transaction, certificate of title, or record was entered into or created before July 1, 2014.

2013, c. 787.

§ 29.1-733.4. Supplemental principles of law and equity.

Unless displaced by a provision of this article, the principles of law and equity supplement its provisions.

2013, c. 787.

§ 29.1-733.5. Law governing watercraft covered by certificate of title.

A. The law of the state or other jurisdiction under whose certificate of title a watercraft is covered governs all issues relating to the certificate from the time the watercraft becomes covered by the certificate until the watercraft becomes covered by another certificate or becomes a documented watercraft, even if no other relationship exists between the jurisdiction and the watercraft or its owner.

B. A watercraft becomes covered by a certificate of title when an application for the certificate and the applicable fee are delivered to the Department in accordance with this article or to the governmental agency that creates a certificate in another jurisdiction in accordance with the law of that jurisdiction.

2013, c. 787.

§ 29.1-733.6. Certificate of title required.

A. No person shall operate a watercraft subject to titling under this chapter unless the owner has applied to the Department for a certificate of title for the watercraft or has been issued a valid temporary registration certificate as provided for in § 29.1-703.1. Except as otherwise provided in subsections B through E, the owner of a watercraft for which Virginia is the state of principal use shall deliver to the Department an application for a certificate of title for the watercraft, with the applicable fee, not later than 20 days after the later of:

1. The date of a transfer of ownership; or

2. The date Virginia becomes the state of principal use.

B. An application for a certificate of title is not required for:

1. A documented vessel;

2. A foreign-documented vessel;

3. A barge;

4. A watercraft before delivery if the watercraft is under construction or completed pursuant to contract; or

5. A watercraft held by a dealer for sale or lease.

C. A dealer transferring a watercraft required to be titled under this article shall assign the title to the new owner or, in the case of a new watercraft, assign the certificate of origin. The dealer shall forward all fees and applications to the Department within 20 days of sale. Each dealer shall maintain a record for six years of any watercraft he bought, sold, exchanged, or received for sale or exchange. This record shall be available for inspection by Department representatives during reasonable business hours.

D. No dealer shall purchase or acquire a new watercraft without obtaining from the seller a certificate of origin. No manufacturer, importer, dealer, or other person shall sell or otherwise dispose of a new watercraft to a dealer for purposes of display and resale without delivering to the dealer a certificate of origin. The certificate of origin shall be a uniform or standardized form prescribed by the Department and shall contain:

1. On the front, a description of the watercraft including its trade name, if any, year, series or model, body type, and manufacturer's serial number; certification of date of transfer of watercraft and name and address of transferee; certification that this was the transfer of watercraft in ordinary trade and commerce; and the signature and address of a representative of the transferor; and

2. On the reverse side, an assignment form, including the name and address of the transferee, a certification that the watercraft is new, and a warranty that the title at the time of delivery is subject only to such liens and encumbrances as set forth and described in full in the assignment.

E. The Department shall not issue, transfer, or renew pursuant to the requirements of 46 U.S.C. § 12301, as amended, a certificate of number for a watercraft unless the Department has created a certificate of title for the watercraft or an application for a certificate for the watercraft and the applicable fee have been delivered to the Department. Any owner of a watercraft that was not previously required to be titled and whose certificate of number expires after January 1, 1998, shall apply for a certificate of title at the time of renewal of the certificate of number.

2013, c. 787.

§ 29.1-733.7. Application for certificate of title.

A. Except as otherwise provided in § 29.1-733.10, 29.1-733.15, 29.1-733.19, 29.1-733.20, 29.1-733.21, or 29.1-733.22, only an owner may apply for a certificate of title.

B. An application for a certificate of title shall be signed by the applicant and contain:

1. The applicant's name, the street address of the applicant's principal residence, and, if different, the applicant's mailing address;

2. The name and mailing address of each other owner of the watercraft at the time of application;

3. The motor vehicle driver's license number, social security number, or taxpayer identification number of each owner;

4. The hull identification number for the watercraft or, if none, an application for the issuance of a hull identification number for the watercraft;

5. If numbering is required pursuant to § 29.1-703, the registration number for the watercraft or, if none has been issued by the Department, an application for a registration number pursuant to § 29.1-702;

6. A description of the watercraft as required by the Department, which shall include:

a. The official number for the watercraft, if any, assigned by the U.S. Coast Guard;

b. The name of the manufacturer, builder, or maker;

c. The model year or the year in which the manufacture or build of the watercraft was completed;

d. The overall length of the watercraft;

e. The watercraft type;

f. The hull material;

g. The propulsion type;

h. The engine drive type, if any;

i. The motor identification, including manufacturer's name and serial number, except on motors of 25 horsepower or less; and

j. The fuel type, if any;

7. An indication of all security interests in the watercraft known to the applicant and the name and mailing address of each secured party;

8. A statement that the watercraft is not a documented vessel or a foreign-documented vessel;

9. Any title brand known to the applicant and, if known, the jurisdiction under whose law the title brand was created;

10. If the applicant knows that the watercraft is hull damaged, a statement that the watercraft is hull damaged;

11. If the application is made in connection with a transfer of ownership, the transferor's name, street address and, if different, mailing address, the sales price, if any, and the date of the transfer; and

12. If the watercraft previously was registered or titled in another jurisdiction, a statement identifying each jurisdiction known to the applicant in which the watercraft was registered or titled.

C. In addition to the information required by subsection B, an application for a certificate of title may contain an electronic communication address of the owner, transferor, or secured party.

D. Except as otherwise provided in § 29.1-733.19, 29.1-733.20, 29.1-733.21, or 29.1-733.22, an application for a certificate of title shall be accompanied by:

1. A certificate of title that is signed by the owner shown on the certificate and that:

a. Identifies the applicant as the owner of the watercraft; or

b. Is accompanied by a record that identifies the applicant as the owner; or

2. If there is no certificate of title:

a. If the watercraft was a documented vessel, a record issued by the U.S. Coast Guard that shows that the watercraft is no longer a documented vessel and identifies the applicant as the owner;

b. If the watercraft was a foreign-documented vessel, a record issued by the foreign country that shows that the watercraft is no longer a foreign-documented vessel and identifies the applicant as the owner; or

c. In all other cases, a certificate of origin, bill of sale, or other record that to the satisfaction of the Department identifies the applicant as the owner. Issuance of registration under the provisions of § 29.1-702 is prima facie evidence of ownership of a watercraft and entitlement to a certificate of title under the provisions of this article.

E. A record submitted in connection with an application is part of the application. The Department shall maintain the record in its files.

F. The Department shall require that an application for a certificate of title be accompanied by payment or evidence of payment of all fees and taxes payable by the applicant under law of the Commonwealth other than this article in connection with the application or the acquisition or use of the watercraft. The Department shall charge $7 for issue of each certificate of title, transfer of title, or for the recording of a supplemental lien. The Department shall charge $2 for the issuance of each duplicate title or for changes to a previously issued certificate of title that are made necessary by a change of the motor on the watercraft. Any watercraft purchased and used by a nonprofit volunteer emergency medical services agency shall be exempt from the fees imposed under this section.

G. The application shall be on forms prescribed and furnished by the Department and shall contain any other information required by the Director.

H. Whenever any person, after applying for or obtaining the certificate of title of a watercraft, moves from the address shown in the application or upon the certificate of title, he shall, within 30 days, notify the Department in writing of his change of address. A fee of $7 shall be imposed upon anyone failing to comply with this subsection within the time prescribed.

2013, c. 787; 2014, c. 371; 2015, cc. 502, 503.

§ 29.1-733.8. Creation and cancellation of certificate of title.

A. Unless an application for a certificate of title is rejected under subsection C or D, the Department shall create a certificate for the watercraft in accordance with subsection B not later than 20 days after delivery to it of an application that complies with § 29.1-733.7.

B. If the Department creates electronic certificates of title, the Department shall create an electronic certificate unless in the application the secured party of record or, if none, the owner of record, requests that the Department create a written certificate.

C. Except as otherwise provided in subsection D, the Department shall reject an application for a certificate of title only if:

1. The application does not comply with § 29.1-733.7;

2. The application does not contain documentation sufficient for the Department to determine whether the applicant is entitled to a certificate;

3. There is a reasonable basis for concluding that the application is fraudulent or issuance of a certificate would facilitate a fraudulent or illegal act; or

4. The application does not comply with the law of the Commonwealth other than this article.

D. The Department shall reject an application for a certificate of title for a watercraft that is a documented vessel or a foreign-documented vessel.

E. The Department shall cancel a certificate of title created by it only if the Department:

1. Could have rejected the application for the certificate under subsection C;

2. Is required to cancel the certificate under another provision of this article; or

3. Receives satisfactory evidence that the watercraft is a documented vessel or a foreign-documented vessel.

F. The Department shall provide an opportunity for an informal fact-finding proceeding at which the owner and any other interested party may present evidence in support of or opposition to cancellation of a certificate of title. The Department shall serve all owners and secured parties indicated in the files of the Department with notice of the opportunity for an informal fact-finding proceeding. Service shall be made personally or by mail through the U.S. Postal Service, properly addressed, postage paid, return receipt requested. Service by mail is complete on deposit with the U.S. Postal Service. The Department by rule may authorize service by electronic transmission if a copy is sent on the same day by first-class mail or by a commercial delivery company. If not later than 30 days after the notice was served, the Department receives a request for an informal fact-finding proceeding from an interested party, the Department shall hold the proceeding not later than 20 days after receiving the request.

2013, c. 787.

§ 29.1-733.9. Content of certificate of title.

A. A certificate of title shall contain:

1. The date the certificate was created;

2. The name of the owner of record and, if not all owners are listed, an indication that there are additional owners indicated in the files of the Department;

3. The mailing address of the owner of record;

4. The hull identification number;

5. The information listed in subdivision B 6 of § 29.1-733.7;

6. Except as otherwise provided in subsection B of § 29.1-733.15, the name and mailing address of the secured party of record, if any, and if not all secured parties are listed, an indication that there are other security interests indicated in the files of the Department; and

7. All title brands indicated in the files of the Department covering the watercraft, including brands indicated on a certificate created by a governmental agency of another jurisdiction and delivered to the Department.

B. The Department may note on a certificate of title the name and mailing address of a secured party that is not a secured party of record.

C. For each title brand indicated on a certificate of title, the certificate shall identify the jurisdiction under whose law the title brand was created or the jurisdiction that created the certificate on which the title brand was indicated. If the meaning of a title brand is not easily ascertainable or cannot be accommodated on the certificate, the certificate may state: "Previously branded in (insert the jurisdiction under whose law the title brand was created or whose certificate of title previously indicated the title brand)."

D. If the files of the Department indicate that a watercraft previously was registered or titled in a foreign country, the Department shall indicate on the certificate of title that the watercraft was registered or titled in that country.

E. A written certificate of title shall contain a form that all owners indicated on the certificate may sign to evidence consent to a transfer of an ownership interest to another person. The form shall include a certification, signed under penalty of perjury, that the statements made are true and correct to the best of each owner's knowledge, information, and belief.

F. A written certificate of title shall contain a form for the owner of record to indicate, in connection with a transfer of an ownership interest, that the watercraft is hull damaged.

2013, c. 787.

§ 29.1-733.10. Title brand.

A. Unless subsection C applies, at or before the time the owner of record transfers an ownership interest in a hull-damaged watercraft that is covered by a certificate of title created by the Department, if the damage occurred while that person was an owner of the watercraft and the person has notice of the damage at the time of the transfer, the owner shall:

1. Deliver to the Department an application for a new certificate that complies with § 29.1-733.7 and includes the title brand designation "Hull Damaged"; or

2. Indicate on the certificate in the place designated for that purpose that the watercraft is hull damaged and deliver the certificate to the transferee.

B. Not later than 20 days after delivery to the Department of the application under subdivision A 1 or the certificate of title under subdivision A 2, the Department shall create a new certificate that indicates that the watercraft is branded "Hull Damaged."

C. Before an insurer transfers an ownership interest in a hull-damaged watercraft that is covered by a certificate of title created by the Department, the insurer shall deliver to the Department an application for a new certificate that complies with § 29.1-733.7 and includes the title brand designation "Hull Damaged." Not later than 20 days after delivery of the application to the Department, the Department shall create a new certificate that indicates that the watercraft is branded "Hull Damaged."

D. An owner of record that fails to comply with subsection A, a person that solicits or colludes in a failure by an owner of record to comply with subsection A, or an insurer that fails to comply with subsection C is subject to a civil penalty of $1,000.

2013, c. 787.

§ 29.1-733.11. Maintenance of and access to files.

A. For each record relating to a certificate of title submitted to the Department, the Department shall:

1. Ascertain or assign the hull identification number for the watercraft;

2. Maintain the hull identification number and all the information submitted with the application pursuant to subsection B of § 29.1-733.7 to which the record relates, including the date and time the record was delivered to the Department;

3. Maintain the files for public inspection subject to subsection E; and

4. Index the files of the Department as required by subsection B.

B. The Department shall maintain in its files the information contained in all certificates of title created under this article. The information in the files of the Department shall be searchable by the hull identification number of the watercraft, the registration number, the name of the owner of record, and any other method used by the Department.

C. The Department shall maintain in its files, for each watercraft for which it has created a certificate of title, all title brands known to the Department, the name of each secured party known to the Department, the name of each person known to the Department to be claiming an ownership interest, and all stolen-property reports the Department has received.

D. Upon request, for safety, security, or law-enforcement purposes, the Department shall provide to federal, state, or local government the information in its files relating to any watercraft for which the Department has issued a certificate of title.

E. Except as otherwise provided by the law of the Commonwealth other than this article, the information required under § 29.1-733.9 is a public record. The information provided under subdivision B 3 of § 29.1-733.7 is not a public record.

2013, c. 787.

§ 29.1-733.12. Action required on creation of certificate of title.

A. On creation of a written certificate of title, the Department promptly shall send the certificate to the secured party of record or, if none, to the owner of record at the address indicated for that person in the files of the Department. On creation of an electronic certificate of title, the Department promptly shall send a record evidencing the certificate to the owner of record and, if there is one, to the secured party of record at the address indicated for that person in the files of the Department. The Department shall send the record to the person's mailing address or, if indicated in the files of the Department, an electronic address.

B. If the Department creates a written certificate of title, any electronic certificate of title for the watercraft is canceled and replaced by the written certificate. The Department shall maintain in the files of the Department the date and time of cancellation.

C. Before the Department creates an electronic certificate of title, any written certificate for the watercraft shall be surrendered to the Department. If the Department creates an electronic certificate, the Department shall destroy or otherwise cancel the written certificate for the watercraft that has been surrendered to the Department and maintain in the files of the Department the date and time of destruction or other cancellation. If a written certificate being canceled is not destroyed, the Department shall indicate on the face of the certificate that it has been canceled.

2013, c. 787.

§ 29.1-733.13. Effect of certificate of title.

A certificate of title is prima facie evidence of the accuracy of the information in the record that constitutes the certificate.

2013, c. 787.

§ 29.1-733.14. Effect of possession of certificate of title; judicial process; levy; penalty.

A. Possession of a certificate of title does not by itself provide a right to obtain possession of a watercraft. Garnishment, attachment, levy, replevin, or other judicial process against the certificate is not effective to determine possessory rights to the watercraft. This article does not prohibit enforcement under law of the Commonwealth other than this article of a security interest in, levy on, or foreclosure of a statutory or common-law lien on a watercraft. Absence of an indication of a statutory or common-law lien on a certificate does not invalidate the lien.

B. A levy made by virtue of an execution, fieri facias, or other proper court order, upon a watercraft for which a certificate of title has been issued by the Department, shall constitute a lien, when the officer making the levy reports to the Department at its principal office, on forms provided by the Department, that the levy has been made and that the vessel levied upon is in the custody of the officer. Should the lien thereafter be satisfied or should the vessel levied upon and seized thereafter be released by the officer, he shall immediately report that fact to the Department at its principal office. Any owner who, after such levy and seizure by an officer and before the report is made by the officer to the Department, fraudulently assigns or transfers his title to or interest in the watercraft, or causes the certificate of title to be assigned or transferred, or causes a security interest to be shown upon such certificate of title, is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.

2013, c. 787.

§ 29.1-733.15. Perfection of security interest.

A. Except as otherwise provided in this section or § 29.1-733.29, a security interest in a watercraft shall be perfected only by delivery to the Department of an application for a certificate of title that identifies the secured party and otherwise complies with § 29.1-733.7. The security interest is perfected on the later of delivery to the Department of the application and the applicable fee or attachment of the security interest under § 8.9A-203.

B. If the interest of a person named as owner, lessor, consignor, or bailor in an application for a certificate of title delivered to the Department is a security interest, the application sufficiently identifies the person as a secured party. Identification on the application for a certificate of a person as owner, lessor, consignor, or bailor is not by itself a factor in determining whether the person's interest is a security interest.

C. If the Department has created a certificate of title for a watercraft, a security interest in the watercraft shall be perfected by delivery to the Department of an application, on a form the Department shall require, to have the security interest added to the certificate. The application shall be signed by an owner of the watercraft or by the secured party and shall include:

1. The name of the owner of record;

2. The name and mailing address of the secured party;

3. The hull identification number for the watercraft; and

4. If the Department has created a written certificate of title for the watercraft, the certificate.

D. A security interest perfected under subsection C is perfected on the later of delivery to the Department of the application and all applicable fees or attachment of the security interest under § 8.9A-203.

E. On delivery of an application that complies with subsection C and payment of all applicable fees, the Department shall create a new certificate of title pursuant to § 29.1-733.8 and deliver the new certificate or a record evidencing an electronic certificate pursuant to subsection A of § 29.1-733.12. The Department shall maintain in the files of the Department the date and time of delivery of the application to the Department.

F. If a secured party assigns a perfected security interest in a watercraft, the receipt by the Department of a statement providing the name of the assignee as secured party is not required to continue the perfected status of the security interest against creditors of and transferees from the original debtor. A purchaser of a watercraft subject to a security interest that obtains a release from the secured party indicated in the files of the Department or on the certificate takes free of the security interest and of the rights of a transferee unless the transfer is indicated in the files of the Department or on the certificate.

G. This section does not apply to a security interest:

1. In a watercraft by a person during any period in which the watercraft is inventory held for sale or lease by the person or is leased by the person as lessor if the person is in the business of selling watercraft;

2. In a barge for which no application for a certificate of title has been delivered to the Department; or

3. In a watercraft before delivery if the watercraft is under construction, or completed, pursuant to contract and for which no application for a certificate has been delivered to the Department.

H. This subsection applies if a certificate of documentation for a documented vessel is deleted or canceled. If a security interest in the watercraft was valid immediately before deletion or cancellation against a third party as a result of compliance with 46 U.S.C. § 31321, the security interest is and remains perfected until the earlier of four months after cancellation of the certificate or the time the security interest becomes perfected under this article.

I. A security interest in a watercraft arising under § 8.2-401 or 8.2-505, subsection (3) of § 8.2-711, or subsection (5) of § 8.2A-508 is perfected when it attaches but becomes unperfected when the debtor obtains possession of the watercraft, unless before the debtor obtains possession the security interest is perfected pursuant to subsection A or C.

J. A security interest in a watercraft as proceeds of other collateral is perfected to the extent provided in § 8.9A-315.

K. A security interest in a watercraft perfected under the law of another jurisdiction is perfected to the extent provided in subsection (d) of § 8.9A-316.

2013, c. 787.

§ 29.1-733.16. Termination statement; delivery of certificate of title; penalty.

A. A secured party indicated in the files of the Department as having a security interest in a watercraft shall deliver a termination statement to the Department and, on the debtor's request, to the debtor by the earlier of:

1. Twenty days after the secured party receives a signed demand from an owner for a termination statement and there is no obligation secured by the watercraft subject to the security interest and no commitment to make an advance, incur an obligation, or otherwise give value secured by the watercraft; or

2. If the watercraft is consumer goods, 30 days after there is no obligation secured by the watercraft and no commitment to make an advance, incur an obligation, or otherwise give value secured by the watercraft.

B. If a written certificate of title has been created and delivered to a secured party and a termination statement is required under subsection A, the secured party, not later than the date required by subsection A, shall deliver the certificate to the debtor or to the Department with the statement. An owner, upon securing the release of any security interest upon a vessel shown upon the certificate of title issued for the watercraft, may exhibit the documents evidencing the release, signed by the person or persons making such release, and the certificate of title to the Department. If the certificate is lost, stolen, mutilated, destroyed, or is otherwise unavailable or illegible, the secured party shall deliver with the statement, not later than the date required by subsection A, an application for a replacement certificate meeting the requirements of § 29.1-733.22.

C. On delivery to the Department of a termination statement authorized by the secured party, the security interest to which the statement relates ceases to be perfected. If the security interest to which the statement relates was indicated on the certificate of title, the Department shall create a new certificate and deliver the new certificate or a record evidencing an electronic certificate. The Department shall maintain in its files the date and time of delivery to the Department of the statement.

D. A secured party that fails to deliver a required termination statement is liable for any loss that the secured party had reason to know might result from its failure to comply and that could not reasonably have been prevented and for the cost of an application for a certificate of title under § 29.1-733.7 or 29.1-733.22.

E. It shall constitute a Class 1 misdemeanor for a secured party who holds a certificate of title to refuse or fail to surrender the certificate to the owner or his agent within 10 days after the security interest has been paid and satisfied.

2013, c. 787.

§ 29.1-733.17. Transfer of ownership.

A. On voluntary transfer of an ownership interest in a watercraft covered by a certificate of title, the following rules apply:

1. If the certificate is a written certificate of title and the transferor's interest is noted on the certificate, the transferor promptly shall sign the certificate and deliver it to the transferee. If the transferor does not have possession of the certificate, the person in possession of the certificate has a duty to facilitate the transferor's compliance with this subdivision. A secured party does not have a duty to facilitate the transferor's compliance with this subdivision if the proposed transfer is prohibited by the security agreement.

2. If the certificate of title is an electronic certificate of title, the transferor promptly shall sign and deliver to the transferee a record evidencing the transfer of ownership to the transferee.

3. The transferee has a right enforceable by specific performance to require the transferor comply with subdivision 1 or 2.

B. The creation of a certificate of title identifying the transferee as owner of record satisfies subsection A.

C. A failure to comply with subsection A or to apply for a new certificate of title does not render a transfer of ownership of a watercraft ineffective between the parties. Except as otherwise provided in § 29.1-733.18, 29.1-733.19, 29.1-733.23, or 29.1-733.24, a transfer of ownership without compliance with subsection A is not effective against another person claiming an interest in the watercraft.

D. A transferor that complies with subsection A is not liable as owner of the watercraft for an event occurring after the transfer, regardless of whether the transferee applies for a new certificate of title.

2013, c. 787.

§ 29.1-733.18. Effect of missing or incorrect information.

Except as otherwise provided in § 8.9A-337, a certificate of title or other record required or authorized by this article is effective even if it contains incorrect information or does not contain required information.

2013, c. 787.

§ 29.1-733.19. Transfer of ownership by secured party's transfer statement.

A. For the purpose of this section, "secured party's transfer statement" means a record signed by the secured party of record stating:

1. A default on an obligation secured by the watercraft has occurred;

2. The secured party of record is exercising or has exercised post-default remedies with respect to the watercraft;

3. By reason of the exercise, the secured party of record has the right to transfer the ownership interest of an owner, and the name of the owner;

4. The name and last-known mailing address of the owner of record and the secured party of record;

5. The name of the transferee;

6. All other information required by subsection B of § 29.1-733.7; and

7. One of the following:

a. The certificate of title is an electronic certificate;

b. The secured party does not have possession of the written certificate of title created in the name of the owner of record; or

c. The secured party is delivering the written certificate of title to the Department with the secured party's transfer statement.

B. Unless the Department rejects a secured party's transfer statement for a reason stated in subsection C of § 29.1-733.8, not later than 20 days after delivery to the Department of the statement and payment of fees and taxes payable under the law of the Commonwealth other than this article in connection with the statement or the acquisition or use of the watercraft, the Department shall:

1. Accept the statement;

2. Amend the files of the Department to reflect the transfer; and

3. If the name of the owner whose ownership interest is being transferred is indicated on the certificate of title:

a. Cancel the certificate even if the certificate has not been delivered to the Department;

b. Create a new certificate indicating the transferee as owner; and

c. Deliver the new certificate or a record evidencing an electronic certificate.

C. An application under subsection A or the creation of a certificate of title under subsection B is not by itself a disposition of the watercraft and does not by itself relieve the secured party of its duties under Title 8.9A.

2013, c. 787.

§ 29.1-733.20. Transfer by operation of law.

A. As used in this section, unless the context requires a different meaning:

"By operation of law" means pursuant to a law or judicial order affecting ownership of a watercraft:

1. Because of death, such as in the case of a legatee, distributee, or surviving joint owner;

2. Because of divorce or other family law proceeding;

3. Because of any written agreement ratified or incorporated in a decree or order of a court of record;

4. Because of merger, consolidation, dissolution, insolvency, or bankruptcy;

5. Because of an execution sale;

6. Through the exercise of the rights of a lien creditor or a person having a lien created by statute or rule of law, including a lien provided for in § 43-34;

7. Through the execution of a statement of transfer on death; or

8. Through other legal process.

"Transfer-by-law statement" means a record signed by a transferee stating that by operation of law the transferee has acquired or has the right to acquire an ownership interest in a watercraft.

B. A transfer-by-law statement shall contain:

1. The name and last-known mailing address of the owner of record and the transferee and the other information required by subsection B of § 29.1-733.7;

2. Documentation sufficient to establish the transferee's ownership interest or right to acquire the ownership interest;

3. A statement that:

a. The certificate of title is an electronic certificate of title;

b. The transferee does not have possession of the written certificate of title created in the name of the owner of record; or

c. The transferee is delivering the written certificate to the Department with the transfer-by-law statement;

4. Except for a transfer described in subdivision 1 of the definition of "by operation of law," evidence that notification of the transfer and the intent to file the transfer-by-law statement has been sent to all persons indicated in the files of the Department as having an interest, including a security interest, in the watercraft; and

5. If the owner is dead and no fiduciary has qualified for his estate, an estate statement to the effect that no qualification for the estate has been made, that no qualification is expected, and that the decedent's debts have been paid or that the proceeds from the sale of the watercraft will be applied against his debts. The estate statement shall contain the name, residence at the time of death, and date of death of the decedent and the names of any other persons having an interest in the watercraft for which the transfer of title is sought. If these persons are of legal age, they shall signify in writing their consent to the transfer.

C. Unless the Department rejects a transfer-by-law statement for a reason stated in subsection C of § 29.1-733.8 or because the statement does not include documentation or an estate statement satisfactory to the Department as to the transferee's ownership interest or right to acquire the ownership interest, not later than 20 days after delivery to the Department of the transfer-by-law statement and payment of fees and taxes payable under the law of the Commonwealth other than this article in connection with the statement or with the acquisition or use of the watercraft, the Department shall:

1. Accept the statement;

2. Amend the files of the Department to reflect the transfer; and

3. If the name of the owner whose ownership interest is being transferred is indicated on the certificate of title:

a. Cancel the certificate even if the certificate has not been delivered to the Department;

b. Create a new certificate indicating the transferee as owner;

c. Indicate on the new certificate any security interest indicated on the canceled certificate, unless a court order provides otherwise; and

d. Deliver the new certificate or a record evidencing an electronic certificate.

D. This section does not apply to a transfer of an interest in a watercraft by a secured party under Part 6 (§ 8.9A-601 et seq.) of Title 8.9A.

2013, c. 787; 2019, c. 236.

§ 29.1-733.21. Application for transfer of ownership or termination of security interest without certificate of title.

A. Except as otherwise provided in § 29.1-733.19 or 29.1-733.20, if the Department receives, unaccompanied by a signed certificate of title, an application for a new certificate that includes an indication of a transfer of ownership or a termination statement, the Department shall create a new certificate under this section only if:

1. All other requirements under §§ 29.1-733.7 and 29.1-733.8 are met;

2. The applicant provides an affidavit stating facts showing the applicant is entitled to a transfer of ownership or termination statement;

3. The applicant provides the Department with satisfactory evidence that notification of the application has been sent to the owner of record and all persons indicated in the files of the Department as having an interest, including a security interest, in the watercraft, at least 45 days have passed since the notification was sent, and the Department has not received an objection from any of those persons; and

4. The applicant submits any other information required by the Department as evidence of the applicant's ownership or right to terminate the security interest, and the Department has no credible information indicating theft, fraud, or an undisclosed or unsatisfied security interest, lien, or other claim to an interest in the watercraft.

B. The Department shall indicate in a certificate of title created under subsection A that the certificate was created without submission of a signed certificate or termination statement. Unless credible information indicating theft, fraud, or an undisclosed or unsatisfied security interest, lien, or other claim to an interest in the watercraft is delivered to the Department not later than one year after creation of the certificate, on request in a form and manner required by the Department, the Department shall remove the indication from the certificate.

C. Unless the Department determines that the value of a watercraft is less than $5,000, before the Department creates a certificate of title under subsection A, the Department shall require the applicant to post a bond or provide an equivalent source of indemnity or security. The bond, indemnity, or other security shall not exceed twice the value of the watercraft as determined by the Department. The bond, indemnity, or other security shall be in a form required by the Department and provide for indemnification of any owner, purchaser, or other claimant for any expense, loss, delay, or damage, including reasonable attorney fees and costs, but not including incidental or consequential damages, resulting from creation or amendment of the certificate.

D. Unless the Department receives a claim for indemnity not later than one year after creation of a certificate of title under subsection A, on request in a form and manner required by the Department, the Department shall release any bond, indemnity, or other security.

2013, c. 787.

§ 29.1-733.22. Replacement certificate of title.

A. If a written certificate of title is lost, stolen, mutilated, destroyed, or otherwise becomes unavailable or illegible, the secured party of record or, if no secured party is indicated in the files of the Department, the owner of record may apply for and, by furnishing information satisfactory to the Department, obtain a replacement certificate in the name of the owner of record.

B. An applicant for a replacement certificate of title shall sign the application and, except as otherwise permitted by the Department, the application shall comply with § 29.1-733.7. The application shall include the existing certificate unless the certificate is lost, stolen, mutilated, destroyed, or otherwise unavailable.

C. A replacement certificate of title created by the Department shall comply with § 29.1-733.9 and indicate on the face of the certificate that it is a replacement certificate.

D. If a person receiving a replacement certificate of title subsequently obtains possession of the original written certificate, the person promptly shall destroy the original certificate of title.

2013, c. 787.

§ 29.1-733.23. Rights of purchaser other than secured party.

A. A buyer in ordinary course of business has the protections afforded by subsection (2) of § 8.2-403 and subsection (a) of § 8.9A-320 even if an existing certificate of title was not signed and delivered to the buyer or a new certificate listing the buyer as owner of record was not created.

B. Except as otherwise provided in §§ 29.1-733.17 and 29.1-733.24, the rights of a purchaser of a watercraft that is not a buyer in ordinary course of business or a lien creditor are governed by the Uniform Commercial Code.

2013, c. 787.

§ 29.1-733.24. Rights of secured party.

A. Subject to subsection B or C, the effect of perfection and nonperfection of a security interest and the priority of a perfected or unperfected security interest with respect to the rights of a purchaser or creditor, including a lien creditor, is governed by Titles 8.1A through 8.10.

B. A security interest perfected under this article has priority over any statutory lien on the watercraft, except for a mechanics lien for repairs to the extent of $150 given by § 43-33 if the requirements are met, provided the mechanic furnishes the holder of any such recorded lien who requests it with an itemized sworn statement of the work done and materials supplied for which the lien is claimed.

C. If, while a security interest in a watercraft is perfected by any method under this article, the Department creates a certificate of title that does not indicate that the watercraft is subject to the security interest or contain a statement that it may be subject to security interests not indicated on the certificate:

1. A buyer of the watercraft, other than a person in the business of selling or leasing watercraft of that kind, takes free of the security interest if the buyer, acting in good faith and without knowledge of the security interest, gives value and receives possession of the watercraft; and

2. The security interest is subordinate to a conflicting security interest in the watercraft that is perfected under § 29.1-733.15 after creation of the certificate and without the conflicting secured party's knowledge of the security interest.

2013, c. 787.

§ 29.1-733.25. Acquiring title to an abandoned watercraft.

A. Any watercraft abandoned for a period exceeding 60 days is subject to the provisions of this section.

B. A landowner, his lessee, or his agent may acquire title to any watercraft abandoned on his land or the water immediately adjacent to his land. Acquisition of title, under the provisions of this section, divests any other person of any interest in the watercraft.

C. If a watercraft has a registration number assigned by the Commonwealth or any other state, or if there are other means of identifying the owner, the person desiring to acquire title shall make a good faith effort to secure the last-known address of all owners and lien holders. He shall notify each owner and lien holder by registered letter that if ownership is not claimed and the watercraft not removed within 30 days, he will apply for title to the watercraft in his name.

D. The person desiring to acquire title also shall place a notice, to appear for three consecutive issues, in a newspaper of general circulation in the county or city where the watercraft is located. The notice shall describe the watercraft, its location, and any identifying number or numbers. The notice shall state that if the watercraft is not claimed and removed within 30 days after the first day the notice was published, the person who has placed the notice shall apply to the Department for title to the watercraft.

E. At the end of the 30-day period, the person seeking to acquire the watercraft shall apply to the Department for title. The application shall be accompanied by the following: (i) an affidavit stating that to the best of the applicant's knowledge the watercraft has been abandoned for a period of at least 60 days; (ii) proof that the registered letter required by the Department was mailed at least 30 days prior to application or a detailed explanation of the steps taken to identify the owner and lien holder; and (iii) proof that a notice was printed in a newspaper as required in subsection D.

F. Upon receipt by the Department of all items required by subsection E, and after all fees and taxes due have been paid, the Department shall then issue title to the watercraft to the applicant.

G. All costs incurred in obtaining title to a watercraft under this section shall be borne by the applicant.

2013, c. 787.

§ 29.1-733.26. Duties and operation of the Department.

A. The Department shall retain the evidence used to establish the accuracy of the information in its files relating to the current ownership of a watercraft and the information on the certificate of title.

B. The Department shall retain in its files all information regarding a security interest in a watercraft for at least 10 years after the Department receives a termination statement regarding the security interest. The information shall be accessible by the hull identification number for the watercraft and any other methods provided by the Department.

C. If a person submits a record to the Department, or submits information that is accepted by the Department, and requests an acknowledgment of the filing or submission, the Department shall send to the person an acknowledgment showing the hull identification number of the watercraft to which the record or submission relates, the information in the filed record or submission, and the date and time the record was received or the submission accepted. A request under this section shall contain the hull identification number and be delivered by means authorized by the Department.

D. The Department shall send or otherwise make available in a record the following information to any person that requests it and pays the applicable fee:

1. Whether the files of the Department indicate, as of a date and time specified by the Department, but not a date earlier than three days before the Department received the request, any certificate of title, security interest, termination statement, or title brand that relates to a watercraft:

a. Identified by a hull identification number designated in the request;

b. Identified by a registration number designated in the request; or

c. Owned by a person designated in the request;

2. With respect to the watercraft:

a. The name and address of any owner as indicated in the files of the Department or on the certificate of title;

b. The name and address of any secured party as indicated in the files of the Department or on the certificate, and the effective date of the information; and

c. A copy of any termination statement indicated in the files of the Department and the effective date of the termination statement; and

3. With respect to the watercraft, a copy of any certificate of origin, secured party transfer statement, transfer by law statement under § 29.1-733.20, and other evidence of previous or current transfers of ownership.

E. In responding to a request under this section, the Department shall provide the requested information in any medium. On request, the Department shall send the requested information in a record that is self-authenticating.

F. Employees of the Department are authorized to administer oaths and take acknowledgments and affidavits incidental to the administration and enforcement of this article. They shall receive no compensation for these services.

2013, c. 787.

§ 29.1-733.27. Uniformity of application and construction.

In applying and construing this uniform act, consideration shall be given to the need to promote uniformity of the law with respect to its subject matter among states that enact it.

2013, c. 787.

§ 29.1-733.28. Relationship to Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act.

This article modifies, limits, and supersedes the federal Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act, 15 U.S.C. § 7001, et seq., but does not modify, limit, or supersede § 101(c) of that act (15 U.S.C. § 7001(c)), or authorize electronic delivery of any of the notices described in § 103(b) of that act (15 U.S.C. § 7003 (b)).

2013, c. 787.

§ 29.1-733.29. Savings clause.

A. The rights, duties, and interests flowing from a transaction, certificate of title, or record shall remain valid on and after July 1, 2014, if the transaction, certificate of title, or record:

1. Relates to a watercraft;

2. Was validly entered into or created before July 1, 2014; and

3. Would be subject to this article if it had been entered into or created on or after July 1, 2014.

B. This article does not affect an action or proceeding commenced before July 1, 2014.

C. Except as otherwise provided in subsection D, a security interest that is enforceable immediately before July 1, 2014, and would have priority over the rights of a person that becomes a lien creditor at that time is a perfected security interest under this article.

D. A security interest perfected immediately before July 1, 2014, remains perfected until the earlier of:

1. The time perfection would have ceased under the law under which the security interest was perfected; or

2. Three years after July 1, 2014.

E. This article does not affect the priority of a security interest in a watercraft if immediately before July 1, 2014, the security interest is enforceable and perfected, and that priority is established.

2013, c. 787.

Article 3. Boating Safety.

§ 29.1-734. Authorization for and placing of markers in waters of the Commonwealth used for public swimming areas; no motorboating, waterskiing in marked area.

A. Any owner of real estate which touches any of the waters of this Commonwealth or the agent of the owner may petition the Board to authorize the placing of markers approved by the Board around a public swimming or bathing area.

B. The Department, upon receiving the petition and sufficient proof that the water adjacent to the real estate is used in whole or in part as a public swimming or bathing area, may authorize the placement of the markers to designate the area as a swimming or bathing area.

C. The cost of the purchase and placement of the markers shall be borne by the party requesting the placement of the markers.

D. No person shall operate a motorboat or manipulate skis within the area of the waters of the Commonwealth marked under this section. Persons violating this subsection shall be guilty of a Class 4 misdemeanor.

1964, c. 654, § 62-174.5:1; 1968, c. 659, § 62.1-171; 1983, c. 475; 1987, c. 488.

§ 29.1-734.1. Skin and scuba divers.

A. No person shall engage in skin diving or scuba diving from a boat in the waters of this Commonwealth which are open to boating, or assist in such diving, without displaying a diver's flag from a mast, buoy, or other structure at the place of diving; and no person shall display such flag except when diving operations are under way or in preparation or display a diver's flag in a location which will unreasonably obstruct vessels from making legitimate navigational use of the water.

B. The diver's flag shall be square, not less than twelve inches on a side, and shall be of red background with a diagonal white stripe, of a width equal to one fifth of the flag's height, running from the upper corner adjacent to the mast downward to the opposite outside corner.

C. No operator of a vessel under way in the waters of this Commonwealth shall permit such vessel to approach closer than twenty-five yards to any structure from which a diver's flag is then being displayed.

1987, c. 488.

§ 29.1-735. Regulations for vessel operation and equipment.

A. The Board shall adopt such regulations as it deems appropriate: (i) to provide rules for the safe and reasonable operation of vessels so as to reduce the risks of collision, personal injury and property damage as a result of such operation; and (ii) to govern the number, type, condition, performance capabilities, use, and stowage on board, of lifesaving (personal flotation) devices and other safety equipment to be carried on vessels or classes of vessels operated on waters within the territorial limits of this Commonwealth.

B. The Board is hereby authorized to make regulations to the extent necessary to keep these requirements generally in conformity with the provisions of the federal navigation laws, or with the rules promulgated by the United States Coast Guard or the United States Secretary of Transportation.

C. No person shall operate or give permission for the operation of a vessel which is not equipped as required by Board regulations.

1984, c. 417, § 62.1-172.1; 1987, c. 488.

§ 29.1-735.1. Board authorized to promulgate regulations for seaplanes.

The Board may promulgate regulations governing the takeoff, landing and taxi of seaplanes on impoundments located in the inland waters of the Commonwealth, so as to reduce the risks of collision, personal injury and property damage as a result of such operation. Such regulations shall not be inconsistent with regulations of the Federal Aviation Administration. Conservation police officers shall report any alleged violations of federal or state regulations regarding the operation of seaplanes or aircraft to the appropriate federal authorities responsible for regulating the operation of seaplanes and aircraft.

1994, c. 414.

§ 29.1-735.2. Boating safety education required; Board to promulgate regulations.

A. No person shall operate a motorboat with a motor of 10 horsepower or greater or personal watercraft on the public waters of the Commonwealth, unless the operator has met the requirements for boating safety education in accordance with the age provisions established in subsection D.

B. A person shall be considered in compliance with the requirements for boating safety education if the person meets one of the following:

1. Completes and passes a boating safety course approved by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) and accepted by the Department;

2. Passes a proctored equivalency examination that tests the knowledge of information included in the curriculum of an approved course;

3. Possesses 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;

4. Possesses a state-approved nonrenewable temporary operator's certificate to operate a motorboat for 90 days that was issued with the certificate of number for the motorboat, if the boat is new or was sold with a transfer of ownership;

5. Possesses a rental or lease agreement from a motorboat rental or leasing business, which lists the person as the authorized operator of the motorboat;

6. Operates the motorboat under onboard direct supervision of a person who meets the requirements of this section;

7. Demonstrates that he is not a resident, is temporarily using the waters of Virginia for a period not to exceed 90 days, and meets any applicable boating safety education requirements of the state of residency, or possesses a Canadian Pleasure Craft Operator's Card;

8. Has assumed operation of the motorboat due to the illness or physical impairment of the initial operator, and is returning the motorboat to shore in order to provide assistance or care for the operator;

9. Is registered as a commercial fisherman pursuant to § 28.2-241 or a person who is under the onboard direct supervision of the commercial fisherman while operating the commercial fisherman's boat;

10. Provides documentation that he is serving or has qualified as a surface warfare officer or enlisted surface warfare specialist in the United States Navy; or

11. Provides documentation that he is serving or has qualified as an Officer of the Deck Underway, boat coxswain, boat officer, boat operator, watercraft operator, or Marine Deck Officer in any branch of the Armed Forces of the United States, United States Coast Guard, or Merchant Marine.

C. The Board shall promulgate regulations by July 1, 2008, to implement a boating safety education program for all motorboat and personal watercraft operators to meet boating safety education requirements.

D. Such regulations shall include provisions that phase-in the requirements for boating safety education according to the following:

1. Personal watercraft operators 20 years of age or younger to meet the requirements by July 1, 2009;

2. Personal watercraft operators 35 years of age or younger to meet the requirements by July 1, 2010;

3. Personal watercraft operators 50 years of age or younger to meet the requirements by July 1, 2011;

4. All personal watercraft operators, regardless of age, to meet the requirements by July 1, 2012;

5. Motorboat operators 20 years of age or younger to meet the requirements by July 1, 2011;

6. Motorboat operators 30 years of age or younger to meet the requirements by July 1, 2012;

7. Motorboat operators 40 years of age or younger to meet the requirements by July 1, 2013;

8. Motorboat operators 45 years of age or younger to meet the requirements by July 1, 2014;

9. Motorboat operators 50 years of age or younger to meet the requirements by July 1, 2015; and

10. All motorboat operators, regardless of age, to meet the requirements by July 1, 2016.

E. Such regulations may include, but not be limited to, provisions for compliance, statewide availability of NASBLA-approved courses including through the Internet, the issuance of certificates to document successful course completion, duplicate certificates, recordkeeping, requirements for course providers, instructor certification, student name and address changes, equivalency exam criteria, provisions for an open-book test for classroom based courses, requirements for motorboat rental and leasing businesses, issuance of a temporary operator's certificate, and the establishment of fees (not to exceed the cost of giving such instruction for each person participating in and receiving the instruction) for boating safety courses and certificates.

F. The Board shall consult and coordinate with the boating public, professional organizations for recreational boating safety, and the boating retail, leasing, and dealer business community in the promulgation of such regulations.

G. The Department shall, by July 1, 2018, establish and thereafter shall maintain a database listing every person who, at any time prior to that date, has completed and passed a boating safety course pursuant to subdivision B 1. The database shall list each person's full name and date of birth and the date on which he passed the safety course, and it shall allow any person who completes and passes the course after July 1, 2018, to add his own information. The Department shall make the database available to law-enforcement officers and, to the extent possible or appropriate, shall maintain the confidentiality of information in the database.

H. Any person who operates a motorboat on the waters of the Commonwealth shall, upon the request of a law-enforcement officer, present to the officer evidence in physical or electronic form that he has complied with subsection B. The law-enforcement officer shall not issue a citation until he has checked the boating safety course passage database created pursuant to subsection G. The listing of the operator in such database shall constitute satisfactory evidence that he has complied with subsection B.

I. Any person who violates any provision of this section or any regulation promulgated hereunder shall be subject to a civil penalty of $100. All civil penalties assessed under this section shall be deposited in the Motorboat and Water Safety Fund of the Game Protection Fund and used as provided for in § 29.1-701.

J. The provisions of this section shall not apply to law-enforcement officers while they are engaged in the performance of their official duties.

2007, cc. 615, 732; 2013, c. 48; 2015, c. 160; 2017, c. 360.

§ 29.1-735.3. Regulation of parasail operators.

The Board shall promulgate regulations applicable to the commercial operations of parasail operators on waters of the Commonwealth. Such regulations shall take into consideration the operating standards and guidelines of the Professional Association of Parasail Operators.

2007, c. 625; 2020, c. 958.

§ 29.1-736. Boat rentals; equipment; safety course.

A. It shall be unlawful to rent a motorboat to any person unless the provisions of this chapter have been complied with. It shall be the duty of persons renting motorboats to equip them as required by this chapter.

B. It shall be unlawful for any person to regularly offer a boat or boats, other than a motorboat, for rent for use on the public waters of the Commonwealth unless such person provides, for the use of each passenger in the boat, a life preserver of the sort prescribed by the regulations of the Board.

C. It shall be unlawful for any person, without first successfully completing a basic boating safety education course approved by the Director, to rent a personal watercraft to another person.

1960, c. 500, § 62-174.8; 1962, c. 626; 1968, c. 659, § 62.1-174; 1987, c. 488; 1998, c. 515.

§ 29.1-737. Muffling devices.

The exhaust of every internal combustion engine used on any motorboat shall be effectively muffled by equipment so constructed and used as to muffle the noise of the exhaust in a reasonable manner. The muffling device shall exhaust at or below the water line or it shall be equipped with mechanical baffles. The use of cutouts is prohibited, except as approved by the Department or the U.S. Coast Guard.

1960, c. 500, § 62-174.9; 1968, c. 659, § 62.1-175; 1987, c. 488; 1997, c. 108.

§ 29.1-738. Operating boat or manipulating water skis, etc., in reckless manner or while intoxicated, etc.

A. No person shall operate any motorboat or vessel, or manipulate any skis, surfboard, or similar device, or engage in any spearfishing while skin diving or scuba diving in a reckless manner so as to endanger the life, limb, or property of any person.

B. No person shall operate any watercraft, as defined in § 29.1-733.2, or motorboat which is underway (i) while such person has a blood alcohol concentration at or greater than the blood alcohol concentration at which it is unlawful to drive or operate a motor vehicle as provided in § 18.2-266 as indicated by a chemical test administered in accordance with § 29.1-738.2, (ii) while such person is under the influence of alcohol, (iii) while such person is under the influence of any narcotic drug or any other self-administered intoxicant or drug of whatsoever nature, or any combination of such drugs, to a degree which impairs his ability to operate the watercraft or motorboat safely, (iv) while such person is under the combined influence of alcohol and any drug or drugs to a degree which impairs his ability to operate the watercraft or motorboat safely, or (v) while such person has a blood concentration of any of the following substances at a level that is equal to or greater than (a) 0.02 milligrams of cocaine per liter of blood, (b) 0.1 milligrams of methamphetamine per liter of blood, (c) 0.01 milligrams of phencyclidine per liter of blood, or (d) 0.1 milligrams of 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine per liter of blood.

C. For purposes of this article, the word "operate" includes being in actual physical control of a watercraft or motorboat and "underway" means that a vessel is not at anchor, or made fast to the shore, or aground.

Any person who violates any provision of this section is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.

1960, c. 500, § 62-174.10; 1962, c. 626; 1968, c. 659, § 62.1-176; 1987, c. 488; 1988, c. 176; 1989, c. 726; 1994, c. 587; 1996, cc. 929, 1015; 1997, c. 703; 2005, c. 616; 2013, c. 787.

§ 29.1-738.01. Operating boat in an improper manner; penalty.

Notwithstanding the provisions of § 29.1-738, upon the trial of any person charged with reckless boating where the degree of culpability is slight, the court in its discretion may find the accused not guilty of reckless boating but guilty of improper boating. Improper boating shall be punishable as a Class 3 misdemeanor.

1991, c. 404.

§ 29.1-738.02. Persons under age twenty-one operating watercraft after illegally consuming alcohol; penalty.

A. It shall be unlawful for any person under the age of twenty-one to operate any watercraft or motorboat upon the waters of the Commonwealth after consuming alcohol. Any such person with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.02 percent or more by weight by volume or 0.02 grams or more per 210 liters of breath but less than 0.08 by weight by volume or less than 0.08 grams per 210 liters of breath as indicated by a chemical test administered as provided in Article 2 (§ 18.2-266 et seq.) of Chapter 7 of Title 18.2 shall be in violation of this section.

B. A violation of this section shall be punishable by denial by the court of such person's privilege to operate a watercraft or motorboat for a period of six months from the date of conviction and by a fine of not more than $500. Any person convicted of a violation of this section shall be eligible to attend an Alcohol Safety Action Program under the provisions of § 29.1-738.5.

1996, c. 631.

§ 29.1-738.03. Reckless operation of a personal watercraft.

A person shall be guilty of reckless operation of a motorboat or vessel who operates any personal watercraft recklessly or at a speed or in such a manner so as to endanger the life, limb or property of any person, which shall include, but not be limited to:

1. Weaving through vessels which are underway, stopped, moored or at anchor while exceeding a reasonable speed under the circumstances and traffic conditions existing at the time;

2. Following another vessel or person on water skis or other similar device, crossing the path of another vessel, or jumping the wake of another vessel more closely than is reasonable and prudent, having due regard to the speed of both vessels and the traffic on and the condition of the waters at the time;

3. Crossing between the towing vessel and a person on water skis or other device; or

4. Steering toward an object or person and turning sharply in close proximity to such object or person in order to spray or attempt to spray the object or person with the wash or jet spray of the personal watercraft.

A person who violates this section shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor, and for a second or subsequent offense, the court shall order the person not to operate a personal watercraft which is underway upon the waters of the Commonwealth for a period of twelve months.

1998, c. 514.

§ 29.1-738.1. Analysis of breath to determine alcohol content of blood.

Any person who is suspected of a violation of subsection B of § 29.1-738 or § 29.1-738.02 shall be entitled, if such equipment is available, to have a preliminary breath analysis for the purpose of obtaining an analysis of the probable alcohol content of his blood. The procedures and requirements of § 18.2-267 shall apply, mutatis mutandis.

1989, c. 726; 1996, c. 631.

§ 29.1-738.2. Consent to blood or breath test.

A. Any person who operates a watercraft or motorboat which is underway upon waters of the Commonwealth shall be deemed thereby, as a condition of such operation, to have consented to have samples of his blood, breath, or both blood and breath taken for a chemical test to determine the alcohol, drug, or both alcohol and drug content of his blood, if such person is arrested for operating a watercraft or motorboat which is underway in violation of subsection B of § 29.1-738, § 29.1-738.02, or of a similar ordinance of any county, city or town, within three hours of the alleged offense. Any person so arrested for a violation of clause (i) or (ii), or both, of subsection B of § 29.1-738, § 29.1-738.02, or of a similar ordinance, shall submit to a breath test. If the breath test is not available, or the person is physically unable to submit to the breath test, a blood test shall be given. The accused shall, prior to administration of the test, be advised by the person administering the test that he has the right to observe the process of analysis and to see the blood-alcohol reading on the equipment used to perform the breath test. If such equipment automatically produces a written printout of the breath test result, this written printout, or a copy thereof, shall be given to the accused in each case.

B. Any person, after having been arrested for a violation of clause (iii), (iv), or (v) of subsection B of § 29.1-738, § 29.1-738.02, or of a similar ordinance, may be required to submit to a blood test to determine the drug or both drug and alcohol content of his blood. When a person, after having been arrested for a violation of clause (i) or (ii), or both, of subsection B of § 29.1-738, submits to a breath test, in accordance with subsection A of this section, or refuses to take or is incapable of taking such a breath test, he may be required to submit to tests to determine the drug or both drug and alcohol content of his blood if the law-enforcement officer has reasonable cause to believe the person was operating a watercraft or motorboat under the influence of any drug or combination of drugs, or the combined influence of alcohol and drugs.

C. If a person, after being arrested for a violation of subsection B of § 29.1-738, § 29.1-738.02, or of a similar ordinance of any county, city or town and after having been advised by the arresting officer that a person who operates a watercraft or motorboat which is underway upon the waters of the Commonwealth shall be deemed thereby, as a condition of such operation, to have consented to have a sample of his blood and breath taken for a chemical test to determine the alcohol or drug content of his blood, and that the unreasonable refusal to do so constitutes grounds for a court to order him not to operate a watercraft or motorboat which is underway upon the waters of the Commonwealth, then refuses to permit the taking of a sample of his blood or breath or both blood and breath samples for such tests, the arresting officer shall take the person arrested before a committing magistrate. If the person is unable to be taken before a magistrate because the person is taken to a medical facility for treatment or evaluation of his medical condition, the arresting officer at a medical facility, in the presence of a witness other than a law-enforcement officer, shall again advise the person, at the medical facility, of the law requiring blood or breath samples to be taken and the penalty for refusal. If he again so refuses after having been further advised by such magistrate or by the arresting officer at a medical facility of the law requiring a blood or breath sample to be taken and the penalty for refusal, and so declares again his refusal in writing upon a form provided by the Supreme Court of Virginia, or refuses or fails to so declare in writing and such fact is certified as prescribed in § 18.2-268.3, then no blood or breath sample shall be taken even though he may thereafter request same.

D. When any person is arrested for operating a watercraft or motorboat which is underway in violation of subsection B of § 29.1-738 or § 29.1-738.02, the procedures and requirements of §§ 18.2-268.1 through 18.2-268.11 shall apply, mutatis mutandis, to this section.

E. If the court or jury finds the defendant guilty of unreasonably refusing to permit a blood or breath sample to be taken, the court shall order such person not to operate a watercraft or motorboat which is underway for a period of 12 months for a first offense and for 24 months for a second or subsequent offense of refusal within five years of the first or other such refusal. However, if the defendant pleads guilty to a violation of subsection B of § 29.1-738, the court may dismiss the refusal warrant.

1989, c. 726; 1990, cc. 825, 929; 1992, c. 830; 1995, c. 130; 1996, c. 631; 2001, c. 779; 2005, c. 616; 2007, c. 168.

§ 29.1-738.3. Presumptions from alcohol or drug content.

In any prosecution for operating a watercraft or motorboat that is underway in violation of clause (ii), (iii), or (iv) of subsection B of § 29.1-738, or of a similar ordinance of any county, city or town, the amount of alcohol or drugs in the blood of the accused at the time of the alleged offense as indicated by a chemical analysis of a sample of the accused's blood or breath to determine the alcohol or drug content of his blood (i) in accordance with the provisions of § 29.1-738.2 or (ii) performed by the Department of Forensic Science in accordance with the provisions of §§ 18.2-268.5, 18.2-268.6, and 18.2-268.7 on the suspect's whole blood drawn pursuant to a search warrant shall give rise to the rebuttable presumptions of subdivisions A 1 through 4 of § 18.2-269.

1989, c. 726; 1995, c. 130; 2005, c. 616; 2017, c. 623.

§ 29.1-738.4. Additional penalty for reckless or intoxicated operation of a watercraft or motorboat.

In addition to any other penalties authorized by law, upon conviction of any person for violation of any provision of § 29.1-738, the court shall order such person not to operate a watercraft or motorboat which is underway upon the waters of the Commonwealth for a period of twelve months from the date of a first conviction or for a period of three years from the date of a second or subsequent conviction within ten years of a first conviction. The period specified in any such order prohibiting operation of a watercraft or motorboat which is underway imposed pursuant to this section shall run consecutively with any such order imposed for refusal to permit a blood or breath sample to be taken.

A first offense of violating this section shall constitute a Class 2 misdemeanor. A second or subsequent offense shall constitute a Class 1 misdemeanor. In addition, the court shall suspend the person's privilege to operate a motorboat or watercraft for the same period for which it had been suspended or revoked when such person violated this section.

The period specified in any such order prohibiting operation of a watercraft or motorboat which is underway imposed pursuant to this section may be suspended by the court only as authorized in § 29.1-738.5.

1989, c. 726; 1996, cc. 929, 1015.

§ 29.1-738.5. Participation in rehabilitation program.

A. Any person convicted of a violation of subsection B of § 29.1-738, or any ordinance of a county, city or town similar to the provisions thereof, or any second offense thereunder, shall, with leave of court or upon court order, enter into an alcohol safety action program certified by the Commission on the Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program (VASAP) in the judicial district in which the charge is brought or in any other judicial district upon such terms and conditions as the court may set forth. In the determination of the eligibility of such person to enter a program, the court shall consider his prior record of participation in any other rehabilitation program. Suspension of the penalties imposed pursuant to § 29.1-738.4 shall be conditioned upon successful completion of such a program.

B. The court shall require the person entering such program under the provisions of subsection A to pay a fee of no less than $250 but no more than $300. A reasonable portion of such fee, as may be determined by the Commission on VASAP, but not to exceed ten percent, shall be forwarded quarterly to be deposited with the State Treasurer for expenditure by the Commission on VASAP, and the balance shall be held in a separate fund for local administration of alcohol rehabilitation programs. Upon a finding that the defendant is indigent, the court may reduce or waive the fee. In addition to the costs of the proceeding, fees as may reasonably be required of defendants referred for extended treatment under such program may be charged.

C. Upon such conviction, the court shall impose the sentence authorized. Upon a finding that a person so convicted is eligible for participation in an alcohol rehabilitation program, the court shall enter the conviction on the warrant, and shall note that the person so convicted has been referred to a program. If the court finds that a person is not eligible for a program or subsequently that the person has violated, without good cause, any of the conditions set forth by the court in entering the program, the court shall dispose of the case as if no program had been entered. Appeals from any such disposition shall be allowed as provided by law.

The court shall have jurisdiction over any person entering a program under the provisions of this section until such time as the case has been disposed of by either successful completion of the program, or final imposition of sentence upon ineligibility or violation of a condition imposed by the court, whichever occurs first.

D. The Commission on VASAP shall establish standards and criteria for the implementation and operation of water safety alcohol rehabilitation programs. The Commission on VASAP shall also establish criteria for the modalities of administration of such programs, as well as public information, accounting procedures and allocation of funds.

1989, c. 726.

§ 29.1-738.6. When arrested person operating a vessel; how vessel removed from scene of arrest.

In any case in which a law-enforcement officer arrests the operator of a vessel, and there is no legal cause for the retention of the vessel by the officer, the officer shall allow the person arrested to designate another person who is present at the scene of the arrest to operate the vessel from the scene to a place designated by the person arrested. If such a designation is not made, the officer may cause the vessel to be taken to the nearest appropriate place for safekeeping.

1997, c. 152.

§ 29.1-739. Duty of operator involved in collision, accident or other casualty; immunity from liability; report of collision, etc.; summons in lieu of arrest.

A. It shall be the duty of the operator of a vessel involved in a collision, accident, or other casualty, so far as he can do so without serious danger to his own vessel, crew, and passengers (if any), to render persons affected by the collision, accident, or other casualty such assistance as may be practicable and as may be necessary in order to minimize any danger caused by the collision, accident, or other casualty, and also give his name, address, and identification of his vessel in writing to any person injured and to the owner of any property damaged in the collision, accident, or other casualty. Any person who complies with this subsection or who gratuitously and in good faith renders assistance at the scene of a vessel collision, accident, or other casualty without objection of any person assisted, shall not be held liable for any civil damages as a result of the rendering of assistance or for any act or omission in providing or arranging salvage, towage, medical treatment or other assistance where the assisting person acts as an ordinary, reasonably prudent person would have acted under the same or similar circumstances.

B. In case of collision, accident, or other casualty involving a vessel, the operator of the vessel, if the collision, accident, or other casualty is of such a nature as to be reportable pursuant to regulations adopted by the Board, shall notify within a reasonable time a law-enforcement officer of the Commonwealth, conservation police officer, or Marine Resources Commission inspector.

The operator shall file with the Department a full report of the collision, accident, or other casualty, as the regulations of the Board may require. The report shall be without prejudice, shall be for the information of the Department only, and shall not be open to public inspection. The fact that such a report has been made shall be admissible in evidence solely to show compliance with this section and applicable regulations, but no such report nor any statement contained in the report shall be admissible as evidence for any other purpose in any trial.

C. Any officer investigating any collision, accident or other casualty shall have authority, in lieu of arresting any person charged with violating any of the provisions of this chapter, to issue a written summons to the person (stating name, address, boat number, offense charged, etc.) to appear in court as in § 46.2-936.

1960, c. 500, § 62-174.11; 1962, c. 626; 1968, c. 659, § 62.1-177; 1972, c. 412; 1973, c. 381; 1987, c. 488; 1991, c. 336; 2007, c. 87.

§ 29.1-739.1. Disregarding signal by law-enforcement officer to stop; attempts to elude; penalty.

A. Any person who, having received a visible or audible signal of a flashing light or siren from any conservation police officer or other law-enforcement officer to bring his motorboat or other vessel, or seaplane to a stop, fails to do so promptly shall be guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor.

B. Any person who, having received a visible or audible signal of a flashing light or siren from any conservation police officer or other law-enforcement officer to bring his motorboat or other vessel, or seaplane to a stop, (i) operates or navigates such motorboat or other vessel, or seaplane in willful or wanton disregard of such signal so as to endanger the life of the law-enforcement officer or other persons or to interfere with the operation of a law-enforcement vessel, or (ii) increases his speed and attempts to escape or elude a law-enforcement officer shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.

1993, c. 243; 1994, c. 414; 2007, c. 87.

§ 29.1-739.2. Conservation police officers to patrol lakes.

The Department shall have an enhanced enforcement effort that is commensurate with the level of boating activity from Memorial Day through Labor Day in the waters of those Virginia lakes that (i) are of a size comparable to or greater than Smith Mountain Lake and (ii) have a comparable number of reported boating accidents during the last five years as Smith Mountain Lake.

2005, c. 233; 2007, c. 87; 2008, c. 535.

§ 29.1-740. Duty to stop and render assistance; penalties for violations.

It shall be the duty of every operator of a vessel involved in a collision to stop and render assistance as required by § 29.1-739. If any person knowingly fails to comply with the provisions of § 29.1-739 when the collision, accident or other casualty results in serious bodily injury to, or the death of, any person, he shall be guilty of a Class 6 felony. If any person knowingly fails to comply with the provisions of § 29.1-739, when the collision, accident or other casualty results only in damage to property, he shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. However, if the vessel struck is unattended and the damage is less than fifty dollars, such person shall be punished only by a fine not exceeding fifty dollars.

1975, c. 429, § 62.1-177.1; 1987, c. 488.

§ 29.1-741. Furnishing information to agency of United States.

In accordance with any request duly made by an authorized official or agency of the United States, any information compiled or otherwise available to the Department pursuant to subsection B of § 29.1-739 shall be transmitted to the official or agency of the United States.

1960, c. 500, § 62-174.12; 1968, c. 659, § 62.1-178; 1987, c. 488.

§ 29.1-742. Towing water skis, surfboards, etc.

A. No person shall operate a vessel on any waters of the Commonwealth for towing a person or persons on water skis, a surfboard, or a similar device unless there is in the vessel a person, in addition to the operator, in a position to observe the progress of the person or persons being towed or unless the skier or skiers wear life preservers.

B. No person shall operate a vessel on any water of the Commonwealth towing a person or persons on water skis, a surfboard, or a similar device, nor shall any person engage in water skiing or a similar activity at any time between the hours from one-half hour after sunset to one-half hour before sunrise. The provisions of this subsection shall not constitute a defense to any provision of § 29.1-738.

C. The provisions of subsections A and B of this section do not apply to a performer engaged in a professional exhibition.

D. No person shall operate or manipulate any vessel, towrope, or other device by which the direction or location of water skis, a surfboard, or a similar device may be affected or controlled in such a way as to cause the water skis, surfboard, or similar device, or any person upon the device to collide with any object or person.

1960, c. 500, § 62-174.13; 1962, c. 626; 1968, c. 659, § 62.1-179; 1982, c. 236; 1987, c. 488; 1988, c. 265; 1993, c. 275; 1997, c. 108.

§ 29.1-743. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1997, c. 108.

§ 29.1-744. Local regulation; application for placement or removal of "no wake" buoys, etc.

A. Any political subdivision of this Commonwealth may, at any time, but only after public notice, formally apply to the Board for special rules and regulations with reference to the safe and reasonable operation of vessels on any water within its territorial limits and shall specify in the application the reasons which make the special rules or regulations necessary or appropriate.

B. The Board is authorized upon application by a political subdivision or its own motion to make special or general rules and regulations with reference to the safe and reasonable operation of vessels on any waters within the territorial limits of any political subdivision of this Commonwealth. Without limiting the generality of the grant of such power, a system of regulatory or navigational markers may be adopted by the Board. Nothing in this section shall be construed to affect the application of any general law concerning the tidal waters of this Commonwealth.

C. Any county, city or town of this Commonwealth may enact ordinances which parallel general law regulating the operation of vessels on any waters within its territorial limits, including the marginal adjacent ocean, and the conduct and activity of any person using such waters. The locality may also provide for enforcement and penalties for the violation of the ordinances, provided the penalties do not exceed the penalties provided in this chapter for similar offenses.

D. After notice to the Department, any county, city or town may, by ordinance, establish "no wake" zones along the waterways within the locality in order to protect public safety and prevent erosion damage to adjacent property. However, any county that is adjacent to an inland lake (i) more than 500 feet above sea level and (ii) of 20,000 acres or more and wholly located within the Commonwealth may, by ordinance, establish "no wake" zones along such lake within the locality in order to protect public safety or prevent erosion damage to adjacent property. The markers and buoys designating a no wake zone shall conform to the requirements established by the Board. Any marker or buoy which is not placed in conformance with the regulations of the Board or which is not properly maintained shall be removed by the locality. The locality may provide for enforcement and penalties for the violation of the ordinance.

E. Any person who desires to place or remove "no wake" buoys or other markers relating to the safe and efficient operation of vessels pursuant to any local ordinance shall apply to the local governing body. The local governing body shall approve, disapprove or approve with modifications the application and forward it to the Director, who shall approve, disapprove or approve with modifications within thirty days the placement and type of marker to be used or the removal of "no wake" buoys or other markers. The cost of the purchase and placement or the removal of the buoys or markers shall be borne by the person requesting the placement or removal of the buoys or markers. Any marker or buoy which is not placed in conformance with the regulations of the Board or which is not properly maintained may be removed by the Department. "No wake" buoys or other markers placed prior to July 1, 2001, shall only be removed when no longer required for the safe and efficient operation of vessels pursuant to any local ordinance.

1960, c. 500, § 62-174.15; 1964, cc. 346, 654; 1968, c. 659, § 62.1-182; 1978, c. 598; 1982, c. 232; 1987, c. 488; 1997, c. 522; 1999, c. 489; 2001, c. 649.

§ 29.1-744.1. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1998, c. 537, effective January 1, 1999.

§ 29.1-744.2. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1998, c. 857, effective January 1, 1999.

§ 29.1-744.3. Slacken speed and control wakes near structures.

It shall be unlawful to operate any motorboat, except a personal watercraft, at a speed greater than the slowest possible speed required to maintain steerage and headway when within 50 feet or less of docks, piers, boathouses, boat ramps, or a person in the water, unless such person in the water (i) is being towed by the motorboat or (ii) is accompanying the motorboat, provided that such motorboat is propelled by an inboard motor or a means of propulsion that is below the water line and forward of (a) the transom or (b) an integrated swim platform.

1998, c. 857; 2012, c. 700; 2018, cc. 117, 637.

§ 29.1-744.4. "Pass-through" zones; local ordinances; penalties.

After providing notice to the Department, any locality may, by ordinance, establish "pass-through" zones in any portion of a waterway within its territorial limits where congestion of watercraft traffic routinely poses a significant safety risk to persons in such designated area. The ordinance shall provide that while in a pass-through zone, operators of watercraft shall maintain a reasonable and safe speed and shall be prohibited from stopping, anchoring, loitering, or otherwise engaging in recreational activity. The locality shall clearly identify pass-through zones by buoys or other markers that conform to the general requirements as established by the Board for similar buoys or markers. The locality may provide for enforcement and penalties, not to exceed a Class 4 misdemeanor, for the violation of the ordinance.

2003, c. 780.

§ 29.1-745. Enforcement of chapter; vessels displaying Coast Guard inspection decal.

A. Every conservation police officer, officer of the Virginia Marine Police, and other law-enforcement officer of the Commonwealth and its subdivisions shall have the authority to enforce the provisions of this chapter and shall have authority to stop, board, and inspect any vessel subject to this chapter after having identified himself in his official capacity. Except for enforcement of § 29.1-738 and the requirement of having the registration certificate on board, the provisions of this subsection shall not apply to any vessel of 26 feet or more in length on which is displayed a current valid United States Coast Guard or United States Coast Guard Auxiliary inspection decal.

B. Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection A, no conservation police officer, officer of the Virginia Marine Police, or other law-enforcement officer shall, without the consent of the owner, stop, board, or inspect any noncommercial vessel subject to this chapter unless such officer has reasonable suspicion that a violation of law or regulation exists, except that conservation police officers and officers of the Virginia Marine Police may conduct lawful stops or boardings to inspect hunting, fishing, and trapping licenses pursuant to §§ 28.2-231 and 29.1-337 or to inspect creel and bag limits pursuant to § 29.1-209 and may conduct lawful boating safety checkpoints in accordance with established agency policy.

1960, c. 500, § 62-174.17; 1964, c. 654; 1968, c. 659, § 62.1-184; 1980, c. 567; 1987, c. 488; 2007, c. 87; 2015, c. 484.

§ 29.1-746. Penalties.

A. Unless specified otherwise, any person who violates any provision of this chapter or any regulation adopted under this chapter shall be guilty of a Class 4 misdemeanor for each such violation.

B. Upon the conviction of any person for the violation of any provision of this chapter or any regulation adopted thereunder for which the criminal penalty is a Class 3 misdemeanor or greater, the court shall order the person to complete and pass a boating safety course approved by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators and accepted by the Department. A list of such courses shall be made available by the Department. Any person who has been ordered by the court to complete and pass a boating safety course shall submit to the court, in a form approved by the Department, proof of completion and passage of the course within six months of the time of his conviction. If the person who has been required to complete and pass a boating safety course is under 18 years of age, the court may require the person to obtain parental consent to enroll in the course. If the person does not complete and pass the boating safety course within the prescribed time period, the court may, for good cause, extend the period for completion; however, absent good cause, the court shall impose a fine not to exceed $250.

1960, c. 500, § 62-174.18; 1962, c. 626; 1964, c. 654; 1968, c. 659, § 62.1-185; 1984, c. 417; 1987, c. 488; 2006, c. 23.

Article 4. Personal Watercraft.

§ 29.1-747. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1998, cc. 84 and 563, and repealed by Acts 1998, cc. 443, 512, 514, 515, 537, effective January 1, 1999.

§ 29.1-748. Restrictions on operation; penalty.

A. It is unlawful for any person to:

1. Operate a personal watercraft unless he is at least sixteen years of age, except any person fourteen or fifteen years of age shall be allowed to operate a personal watercraft if he (i) has successfully completed a boating safety education course approved by the Director and (ii) carries on his person, while operating a personal watercraft, proof of successful completion of such course. Upon the request of a law-enforcement officer, such person shall provide proof of having successfully completed an approved course;

2. Operate a personal watercraft unless he has complied with the provisions of § 29.1-735.2, regarding board regulations for boating safety education;

3. Operate a personal watercraft unless each person riding on the personal watercraft is wearing a type I, type II, type III, or type V personal flotation device approved by the United States Coast Guard;

4. Fail to attach the lanyard to his person, clothing, or personal flotation device, if the personal watercraft is equipped with a lanyard-type engine cut-off switch;

5. Operate a personal watercraft on the waters of the Commonwealth between sunset and sunrise;

6. Operate a personal watercraft while carrying a number of passengers in excess of the number for which the craft was designed by the manufacturer; or

7. Operate a personal watercraft in excess of the slowest possible speed required to maintain steerage and headway within fifty feet of docks, piers, boathouses, boat ramps, people in the water, and vessels other than personal watercraft. Nothing in this section shall prohibit a personal watercraft from towing a person with a rope less than fifty feet in length.

B. A violation of any provision of this section shall constitute a Class 4 misdemeanor, except that any person who violates subdivision A 2 shall be subject to the penalty provided in § 29.1-735.2.

C. A violation of this section shall not constitute negligence, be considered in mitigation of damages of whatever nature, be admissible in evidence or be the subject of comment by counsel in any action for the recovery of damages arising out of the operation, ownership, or maintenance of a personal watercraft, nor shall anything in this section change any existing law, rule, or procedure pertaining to any such civil action, nor shall this section bar any claim which otherwise exists.

1991, c. 320; 1998, cc. 443, 537; 2007, cc. 615, 732.

§ 29.1-748.1. Local ordinances; operation on lakes; minimum distance from shoreline; penalty.

A. Any locality in Planning District 23 may, by ordinance, prohibit the operation of a personal watercraft on a public lake measuring less than 50 acres in extent. Such ordinance shall provide that a violation of the prohibition constitutes a Class 4 misdemeanor. Any violation of such an ordinance shall be subject to the provisions of subsection C of § 29.1-748.

B. The City of Virginia Beach may, by ordinance, regulate in any portion of a waterway located solely within its territorial limits, the minimum distance that personal watercraft may be operated from the shoreline in excess of the slowest possible speed required to maintain steerage and headway. Such ordinance shall provide for distances of 100 feet from the shoreline and 200 feet from swimmers in ocean waters, and shall provide for local enforcement and penalties not exceeding those applicable to Class 4 misdemeanors. Nothing in this subsection prohibits access to and from waters where operation is not otherwise restricted.

2003, c. 117; 2007, c. 813; 2018, c. 426.

§ 29.1-749. Owner of personal watercraft permitting violation; penalty.

A. It shall be unlawful for the owner of or any person having control of a personal watercraft to authorize or knowingly permit a person under the age of sixteen to operate the personal watercraft, unless the person fourteen or fifteen years of age has successfully completed a boating safety education course as required under subdivision A 1 of § 29.1-748.

B. A violation of any provision of this section shall constitute a Class 4 misdemeanor.

1991, c. 320; 1998, c. 443.

§ 29.1-749.1. Identification of personal watercraft rentals.

Every business located in a city with a population greater than 390,000 that provides personal watercraft for rent shall place the letter "R," at least eleven inches in height and eight and one-half inches in width, on both sides of each personal watercraft rental, in either red or black, whichever color represents the clearest contrast from the basic color of the rental unit.

1998, c. 84.

§ 29.1-749.2. Local regulation of personal watercraft rentals; penalty.

A. The City of Virginia Beach may by ordinance regulate personal watercraft as provided in this section. Any ordinance enacted pursuant to this section may include any of the following provisions:

1. Any business which offers personal watercraft for rent shall (i) require any person to whom a personal watercraft is rented to present, prior to such rental, a government-issued identification card containing his photograph and (ii) retain such identification card, or a copy thereof, during the time the personal watercraft is being rented.

2. No person who rents or leases a personal watercraft shall knowingly misrepresent any material fact or falsify any information requested on the rental agreement or application.

3. Any business which offers personal watercraft for hourly short-term rental shall have at least one motorboat of at least fifty horsepower operated by an employee or agent of the business, in order to monitor and ensure the safe operation of the personal watercraft.

4. No business which offers personal watercraft for rent shall rent a personal watercraft that has an engine displacement which exceeds 800 cubic centimeters.

5. Any business which offers personal watercraft for rent shall have at least two marine VHF radios in operation during the time that a personal watercraft rental is being operated. The radios shall monitor channel 16 whenever they are not being actively used on a working channel.

B. Any locality may by ordinance establish standards for insurance coverage for any business which offers personal watercraft for rent.

C. Any ordinance adopted by a locality pursuant to this section may provide for a penalty for violation of the ordinance not to exceed the penalty applicable to a Class 3 misdemeanor.

1998, c. 563; 1999, c. 536; 2007, c. 813.

§ 29.1-749.3. Personal watercraft instruction; rental agents.

Any person who is in the business of renting personal watercraft to the public shall provide to any person who rents a personal watercraft instruction on the laws of the Commonwealth governing motorboat operation, specific operating requirements of the personal watercraft being rented, motorboat safety equipment requirements, requirements in the case of a reportable accident, and such other information as the Director may require. The content and methods of instruction shall be approved by the Director.

Any attorney for the county, city or town in which an alleged violation of this section occurred may enforce this section by a civil action to recover a civil penalty not to exceed $250. The civil penalty shall be paid into the local treasury. No filing fee or other fee or cost shall be charged to the county, city or town which instituted the action.

The fact of a violation of this section shall not constitute negligence per se, be considered in mitigation of damages of whatever nature, be admissible in evidence or be the subject of comment by counsel in any action for the recovery of damages arising out of the operation, ownership or maintenance of a personal watercraft. This section shall not change any existing law, rule or procedure pertaining to any such civil action, nor shall this section bar any claim which otherwise exists.

1998, c. 512.

§ 29.1-750. Exemptions.

The provisions of this article shall not apply to participants in regattas, races, marine parades, tournaments, or exhibitions approved by the Board or United States Coast Guard.

1991, c. 320.