H. B. 4550
(By Delegates Martin and Michael)
(Originating in the Committee on Finance)
[March 4, 1998]
A BILL to amend and reenact section twelve, article seven, chapter
twenty of the code of West Virginia, one thousand nine hundred
thirty-one, as amended; and to further amend said article by
adding thereto a new section, designated section twelve-b, all
relating to motorboat identification numbers; application for
numbers; fees; setting the distribution of fees; establishing
the requirement for a boating safety education certificate.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That section twelve, article seven, chapter twenty of the code
of West Virginia, one thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended,
be amended and reenacted; and that said article be further amended
by adding thereto a new section, designated section twelve-b, all
to read as follows:
ARTICLE 7. LAW ENFORCEMENT, MOTORBOATING, LITTER.
§20-7-12. Motorboat identification numbers required; application for numbers; fee; displaying; reciprocity; change of ownership; conformity with United States regulations; records; renewal of certificate; transfer of interest, abandonment, etc.; change of address; unauthorized numbers; information to be furnished assessors.
Every motorboat, as herein defined, operating upon public
waters within the territorial limits of this state, shall be
numbered as herein provided:
(a) The owner of each motorboat requiring numbering by this
state shall file an application for a number with the commissioner
on forms approved by the division of motor vehicles. The
application shall be signed by the owner of the motorboat and shall
be accompanied by a fee of fifteen dollars for a three-year
registration period if propelled by a motor of three or more
horsepower. The fee may be prorated by the commissioner for
periods of less than three years. There shall be no fee for
motorboats propelled by motors of less than three horsepower.
Provided, that beginning on the first day of April, one thousand
nine hundred ninety-nine, the fee for a three year registration
period shall be as follows:
(1) Class A, motorboats less than sixteen feet in length,
twenty dollar fee;
(2) Class B, motorboats sixteen feet or over and less than twenty-six feet in length, thirty dollar fee;
(3) Class C, motorboats twenty-six feet or over and less than
forty feet in length, forty dollar fee; and
(4) Class D, forty feet in length or over, fifty dollar fee.
All such fees, including those received under subdivision (b)
of this section, shall be deposited in the state treasury and
twenty-five percent shall be credited to the division of motor
vehicles and shall be used and paid out upon order of the
commissioner solely for the administration of the certificate of
number system. The remaining fifty seventy-five percent shall be
credited to the division of natural resources and shall be used and
paid out upon order of the director solely for the enforcement and
safety education of the state boating system. Upon receipt of the
application in approved form, the commissioner shall enter the same
upon the records of the division and issue to the applicant a
number awarded to the motorboat and the name and address of the
owner. The owner shall paint on or attach to each side of the bow
of the motorboat the identification number in the manner as may be
prescribed by rules of the commissioner in order that it may be
clearly visible. The number shall be maintained in legible
condition. The certificate of number shall be pocket size and
shall be available at all times for inspection on the motorboat for
which issued, whenever the motorboat is in operation.
(b) In order to permit a motorboat sold to a purchaser by a dealer to be operated pending receipt of the certificate of number
from the commissioner, the commissioner may deliver to dealers,
upon application therefor and payment of one dollar for each,
temporary certificates of number to in turn be issued to purchasers
of motorboats. Every person who is issued a temporary certificate
by a dealer shall, under the provisions of subdivision (a) of this
section, apply for a certificate of number no later than ten days
from the date of issuance of the temporary certificate. A
temporary certificate shall expire upon receipt of the certificate,
upon recision of the contract to purchase the motorboat in question
or upon the expiration of forty days from the date of issuance,
whichever shall first occur. It is unlawful for any dealer to
issue any temporary certificate knowingly containing any
misstatement of fact or knowingly to insert any false information
on the face thereof. The commissioner may by rule prescribe
additional requirements upon the dealers and purchasers as are
consistent with the effective administration of this section.
(c) The owner of any motorboat already covered by a number in
full force and effect which has been awarded to it pursuant to then
operative federal law or a federally approved numbering system of
another state shall record the number prior to operating the
motorboat on the waters of this state in excess of the sixty-day
reciprocity period provided for in section fourteen of this
article. The recordation shall be in the manner and pursuant to procedure required for the award of a number under subdivision (a)
of this section, except that an additional or substitute number
shall not be issued.
(d) Should the ownership of a motorboat change, a new
application form with fee shall be filed with the commissioner and
a new certificate of number shall be awarded in the same manner as
provided for in an original award of number.
(e) In the event that an agency of the United States
government shall have in force an overall system of identification
numbering for motorboats within the United States, the numbering
system employed pursuant to this article by the division of motor
vehicles shall be in conformity therewith.
(f) All records of the director made or kept pursuant to this
section shall be transferred to the commissioner and shall be
maintained as public records.
(g) (f) The license shall be valid for a maximum period of
three years. If at the expiration of that period ownership has
remained unchanged, the owner shall, upon application and payment
of the proper fee, be granted a renewal of the certificate of
number for an additional three-year period.
(h) (g) The owner shall furnish the commissioner notice of the
transfer of all or any part of an interest, other than the creation
of a security interest, in a motorboat numbered in this state
pursuant to subdivisions (a) and (b) of this section, or of the destruction or abandonment of the motorboat, within fifteen days
thereof. The 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 the motorboat, the transfer shall not
terminate the certificate of number.
(i) (h) Any holder of a certificate of number shall notify the
commissioner within fifteen days if his or her address no longer
conforms to the address appearing on the certificate and shall, as
a part of the notification, furnish the commissioner with his or
her new address. The commissioner may provide rules for the
surrender of the certificate bearing the former address and its
replacement with a certificate bearing the new address or for the
alteration of an outstanding certificate to show the new address of
(j) (i) No number other than the number awarded to a motorboat
or granted reciprocity pursuant to this article shall be painted,
attached or otherwise displayed on either side of the bow of the
(k) (j) It shall be the duty of the commissioner on or before
the thirtieth day of August of each year, commencing with the year
one thousand nine hundred eighty, to forward to the assessor of
each county a list of the names and addresses of all persons, firms
and corporations owning vessels and operating the same or other boats registered with the commissioner under the provisions of this
article. In furnishing this information to each county assessor,
the commissioner shall include the information as to make and model
of the vessels and other equipment required to be registered for
use by said owner or operator thereof under the provisions of this
article: Provided, That the commissioner need not furnish the
information to the assessor if the cost price of the vessel does
not exceed five hundred dollars or the cost of the motor does not
exceed two hundred fifty dollars.
(l) (k) No person may operate an unlicensed motorboat upon any
waters of this state without first acquiring the certificate of
number or license as required by law.
§20-7-12b. Boating Safety Education Certificate.
(a) Except as otherwise provided in subdivision (c) of this
article, beginning on the first day of January, two thousand, no
person born on or after the thirty-first day of December, one
thousand nine hundred eighty-four, may operate a motorboat or
personal watercraft on any waters of this state without first
having obtained a certificate of boating safety education from this
or any other state, which certificate was obtained by
satisfactorily completing a course of instruction in boating safety
education administered by the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary; the U.S.
Power Squadron; the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources;
any person certified to teach the course administered by West Virginia Natural Resources Boating Safety Education Section
personnel; or any person authorized to teach the course prescribed
by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators in
this or any other state.
(b) Any person who is subject to subdivision (a) of this
article must possess the certificate of boating safety education
when operating a motorboat or personal watercraft on the waters of
this state and must show the certificate on demand of any West
Virginia Conservation Officer or other law enforcement officer
authorized to enforce the provisions of this chapter.
(c)The following persons are exempt from the requirements of
subdivision (a) of this article:
(1)A person who is a resident of a state other than West
Virginia and who is visiting the state for sixty days or less in a
motorboat or personal watercraft from another state if:
(A)The person is fifteen years of age or older; and
(B)The person has been issued a boating safety education
certificate by that state in accordance with the criteria
recommended by the National Association of State Boating Law
(2)A person who is visiting the state for ninety days or
less in a motorboat or personal watercraft from a country other
than the United States;
(3)A person who is operating a motorboat or personal watercraft in connection with commercial purposes.
(d)The division shall issue a certificate of boating safety
education to a person who:
(1)Passes any course prescribed in subdivision (a) of this
(2)Passes a boating safety equivalency examination
administered by persons authorized to administer a boating safety
education course as outlined in subdivision (a) of this article.
Upon request, the division shall provide, without charge, boating
safety education materials to persons who plan to take the boating
safety equivalency examination.
(e)No person who owns a motorboat or personal watercraft or
who has charge over a motorboat or personal watercraft may
authorize or knowingly permit it to be operated in violation of
subdivision (a) of this article.
(f)The provisions of subdivision (a) of this article may
only be enforced as a secondary action when the officer detains an
operator of a motorboat or personal watercraft for a suspected
violation of another provision of the West Virginia Code or rules
adopted in accordance with the West Virginia Code. A person may
not be taken forthwith to a court or detention facility solely for
a violation of subdivision (a) of this article.