Pennsylvania Statutes Title 30 Pa.C.S.A. Fish § 5103. Boating education

(a) Mandatory program of boater education.--Except as otherwise provided in this section, on or after January 1, 2003, any person born on or after January 1, 1982, shall not operate, on the waters of this Commonwealth, a motorboat without first obtaining a certificate of boating safety education.

(b) Compliance.--Any person who is subject to the provisions of subsection (a) shall:

(1) possess the certificate of boating safety education when operating a vessel on waters of this Commonwealth;  and

(2) show the certificate on the demand of a waterways conservation officer or other law enforcement officer.

(c) Exemptions.--The following persons are exempt from the requirements of this section:

(1) A person who is a resident of another state and who is visiting this Commonwealth for 60 days or less in a motorboat that is registered in another state if:

(i) the person was born before January 1, 1982;  or

(ii) the person has been issued a license or boating safety education certificate in accordance with the provisions of subsection (i).

(2) A person who is visiting this Commonwealth for 90 days or less in a motorboat from a country other than the United States.

(3) A landowner or a member of the landowner's immediate family operating a motorboat on waters located wholly within property owned by the landowner where there is no publicly owned or publicly maintained access to those waters.

(4) A person who operates a motorboat powered by an electric motor or by an internal combustion motor of 25 horsepower or less.

(5) Any other person exempted by regulation of the commission.

(d) Operational requirements.--When a motorboat is operated for pleasure on the waters of this Commonwealth, the operator of that vessel shall:

(1) possess the certificate of boating safety education;  or

(2) be exempt from the certification requirements of subsection (a).

(e) Commission duties.--The commission shall:

(1) Promulgate regulations that establish criteria for a course of instruction in boating safety education.

(2) Administer a written or verbal test when appropriate.

(3) Coordinate a Statewide program of boating safety instruction and certification at such times and locations to make courses convenient for residents of various counties and to maximize attendance.

(4) Issue a certificate of boating safety education to a person who:

(i) passes a commission-approved course in boating safety education;  and

(ii) pays the fee set forth in section 5104 (relating to fees).

(5) Provide boating safety education materials to persons who plan to take the boating safety course.

(6) Replace a lost or destroyed certificate.

(7) Establish reasonable charges for persons who take boating safety education courses conducted by the commission or commission volunteers.  Such charges shall bear a reasonable relationship to the costs of providing the course and the course materials.

(f) Additional sources of instruction.--If approved by the commission, any of the following may offer the course of instruction in boating safety education:

(1) The commission.

(2) The United States Coast Guard Auxiliary.

(3) The United States Power Squadron.

(4) A political subdivision.

(5) A municipal corporation.

(6) An agency.

(7) A public or nonpublic school.

(8) A group.

(9) A firm.

(10) An association.

(11) Any other person.

(g) Validity of certificate.--The certificate of boating safety education, once issued, shall be valid for the lifetime of the person to whom it was issued.

(h) Temporary certificates.--The commission or its designee may issue a 60-day temporary certificate of boating safety education to a person who has successfully completed a boating safety education course approved by the commission.

(i) Other valid documentation.--

(1) In lieu of a certificate of boating safety education issued by the Commonwealth, a certificate of boating safety education issued to a resident of another state in accordance with criteria of the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators is sufficient to comply with the requirements of this section.

(2) In lieu of a certificate of boating safety education issued by the commission, a license issued by the United States Coast Guard is sufficient to comply with the requirements of this section.

(j) Penalty.--On or after January 1, 2003, a person who is subject to the provisions of subsection (a) and who operates, on waters of this Commonwealth, a motorboat in violation of any requirement of this section commits a summary offense of the second degree.

(k) Others subject to mandatory education requirements.--Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, it is unlawful for a person to operate a watercraft on the waters of this Commonwealth without completing a boat safety education course when:

(1) A person convicted on one or more boating violations concerning the operation of, or safety equipment on, a watercraft is required as a condition of probation or sentencing to successfully complete a boating safety education course that is offered or approved by the commission.

(2) A person is convicted of any of the following boating safety violations in the operation of a watercraft:

(i) negligent operation;

(ii) reckless operation;  or

(iii) operating under the influence of alcohol, any controlled substance, combination of controlled substances or combination of controlled substances and alcohol in violation of this title.

(3) If a person convicted of the offenses described in paragraph (1) or (2) had, prior to the date of the conviction, previously completed a boating safety education course or obtained a boating safety certificate, such person shall, prior to operating a watercraft on the waters of this Commonwealth, be required to complete an additional boating safety education course.


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