Senate Bill No. 701
(By Senator Dittmar)
[Introduced February 23, 1998; referred to the
Committee on Natural Resources; and then to the Committee on
A BILL to amend article fourteen, chapter eleven of the code of
West Virginia, one thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as
amended, by adding thereto a new section, designated section
sixteen-a; to amend and reenact section twelve, article
seven, chapter twenty of said code; and to further amend
said article by adding thereto a new section, designated
all relating to the operation of pleasure
boats on our state's waterways; capturing a portion of the
gasoline fuel taxes paid by pleasure boat operators of the
state by authorizing one half of one percent of the gasoline
and special fuel excise tax to be credited to the division
of natural resources for use in maintaining the safety of
the waterways of this state;
legislative findings; raising registration fees for motorboats; removing certain
recordkeeping requirements; and requiring that certain
operators of motorboats and personal watercraft obtain a
certificate of boating safety education training.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That article fourteen, chapter eleven of the code of West
Virginia, one thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended, be
amended by adding thereto a new section, designated section
sixteen-a; that section twelve, article seven, chapter twenty of
said code 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:
CHAPTER 11. TAXATION.
ARTICLE 14. GASOLINE AND SPECIAL FUEL EXCISE TAX.
§11-14-16a. Legislative findings; additional dedication of tax.
(a) The Legislature finds and declares that the definition
of public road and public highway set forth in section three,
article one, chapter seventeen of this code includes the navigable
streams and waterways of this state as well as the roads and
highways running over the surface of this state and through the
skies of this state. The Legislature further finds and declares
that state conservation officers are charged, by the provisions
of section four, article seven, chapter twenty of this code with enforcing the laws of this state, many of which directly affect
the safety of the highways of this state, including road patrol,
traffic, court activities and other safety activities directly
related to the efficiency of the highways of this state, as that
term is defined in section three, article one, chapter seventeen
of this code, and that these activities so performed constitute
maintenance of public highways within the meaning of article six,
section fifty-two of the constitution of this state.
The Legislature further finds and declares that the supreme
court of this state, in its opinion in Contractors Association of
West Virginia v. West Virginia Department of Public Safety,
Division of Public Safety, astutely noted that when article six,
section fifty-two of the constitution of this state was adopted,
interstates did not exist, and at the time that constitutional
provision was written the major concern was building of roads.
The supreme court further noted that with the development of the
interstate system and the advent of powerful, high speed vehicles,
the concern has changed and has refocused upon the safety and
administrative costs necessary to protect the users of our highway
system. Having declared safety which is directly related to the
efficiency of the public highways of this state to be a related
part of the maintenance of the public highways of this state, the
supreme court of this state authorized the use of moneys in the state road fund for road patrol, traffic, court activities and
other safety activities directly related to the efficiency of the
highways of this state.
The Legislature finds and declares that an amount equal to
one half of one percent of the gasoline and special fuel excise
tax is directly attributable to the costs incurred by the division
of natural resource, law-enforcement section in performing duties
relevant to the maintenance and efficient operation of the
highways of this state. In accordance with enhancing and
maintaining the safe and efficient operation of the public
highways of this state, the Legislature further finds and declares
that allocating this portion of the revenue from the gasoline and
special fuel excise tax to the division of natural resources, law-
enforcement section will promote the safe and efficient
maintenance of the public highways of this state.
(b) On and after the first day of July, one thousand nine
hundred ninety-eight, one half of one percent of the revenues
collected pursuant to the provisions of this article shall be
credited to the division of natural resources as follows: One
hundred percent to the law-enforcement section, to be used to
offset the expenses involved in patrolling, performing safety
inspections and traffic control activities.
CHAPTER 20. NATURAL RESOURCES.
ARTICLE 7. LAW ENFORCEMENT, MOTORBOATING, LITTER.
PART II. MOTORBOATING.
§20-7-12. Motorboat identification numbers required; application
for numbers; fees; 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 on and after the first day of April, one thousand
nine hundred ninety-nine, the registration fees for motorboats
are as follows:
(1) Class A, motorboats less than sixteen feet in length,
thirty dollar fee;
(2) Class 1, motorboats sixteen feet or over and less than
twenty-six feet in length, forty-five dollar fee;
(3) Class 2, motorboats twenty-six feet or over and less
than forty feet in length, sixty dollar fee; and
(4) Class 3, forty feet in length or over, seventy-five
All such fees, including those received under
subsection (b) of this section, shall be deposited in the state
treasury and fifty 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 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
(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 subsection (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 fact
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 subsection (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 any 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 subsections (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
(i) (h) Any holder of a certificate of number shall notify
the commissioner with 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 the holder.
(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 motorboat.
(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
subsection (c) of this
section, on and after the first day of January, two thousand, no
person born on or after the first day of January, one thousand
nine hundred eighty-five, 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 subsection (a) of this
section 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 subsection (a) of this section:
(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 subsection (a) of this
(2) Passes a boating safety equivalency examination
administered by persons authorized to administer a boating safety
education course as outlined in subsection (a) of this section.
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 shall
authorize or knowingly permit it to be operated in violation of
subsection (a) of this section.
(f) The provisions of subsection (a) of this section 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 subsection (a) of this section.
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to require certain
operators of motorboats and personal watercraft to obtain a
certificate of boating safety education training before operating
motorboats or personal watercraft, to raise the registration fees
of motorboats and
to capture a portion of the gasoline fuel taxes
paid by the pleasure boat operators of the state.
Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken
from current statute and underscored language would be added to current statute.
§§20-7-12b and 11-14-16a are entirely new; therefore,
strike-throughs and underscoring have been omitted.