Senator ANTHONY R. BUCCO
District 25 (Morris and Somerset)
Requires warning sign to be posted at pontoon boat rental businesses; designated as “Christopher’s Law.”
CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT
An Act concerning boat safety and amending and supplementing P.L.1995, c.401.
Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:
1. Section 2 of P.L.1995, c.401 (C.12:7-71) is amended to read as follows:
2. As used in this chapter, unless the context clearly requires a different meaning:
"Commission" means the Boat Regulation Commission established pursuant to section 14 of P.L.1962, c.73 (C.12:7-34.49);
"Department" means the Department of Law and Public Safety;
"Director" means the Director of the Division of Motor Vehicles in the Department of Transportation;
"Division" means the Division of Motor Vehicles in the Department of Transportation;
"Documented vessel" means a vessel which has a valid Marine Document issued by the United States Coast Guard or any Federal agency successor thereto;
"Length" means measurement from end to end over the deck parallel to the centerline excluding sheer, bowsprits, bumpkins, rudders, outboard motors, brackets or other equipment or appendages;
"Motor" means a temporarily or permanently installed fuel consuming mechanism by which the vessel is or may be propelled, including an electrical motor;
"Operate" means to navigate, use, control or command a vessel;
"Operator" means every person having charge, control, operation or direction of any vessel and the owner of the vessel if the owner is on the vessel at the time it is operated in violation of the law;
"Owner" means a person, other than a lienholder, having the property in or title to a vessel. The term includes a person entitled to the use or possession of the vessel subject to an interest of another person, reserved or created by agreement and securing payment or performance of an obligation, but the term excludes a lessee under a lease not intended as security;
"Personal watercraft" means a personal watercraft as defined by section 1 of P.L.1993, c.299 (C.12:7-62);
“Pontoon boat” means a vessel supported by one or more cylindrical floats and propelled by an inboard or outboard motor;
"Power vessel" means a vessel temporarily or permanently equipped with machinery for propulsion, including a personal watercraft, and shall not include a vessel propelled wholly by sails or by muscular power;
"Sailboat" means any boat whose sole source of propulsion is the wind;
"Vessel" means a boat or watercraft, other than a sea plane on the water, used or capable of being used as a means of transportation on water; and
"Waters of this State" means all waters within the jurisdiction of this State, both tidal and nontidal, and the marginal sea adjacent to this State to a distance of three nautical miles from the shoreline.
(cf: P.L.1995, c.401, s.2)
2. (New section) The owner of a business that rents pontoon boats to the general public shall prominently display a metallic warning sign measuring at least 24 inches by 24 inches at the entrance of the designated rental area. The top portion of the sign shall state: “All unlicensed pontoon boat operators shall complete a pre-rental instruction course in accordance with New Jersey State Law.” The center portion of the sign shall display an image depicting the outline of a person near a propeller surrounded by a red circle with a red backslash bisecting the image. The bottom portion of the sign shall state: “Warning: Rotating propellers can cause serious injury or death.”
3. This act shall take effect on the first day of the fourth month following enactment.
This bill, to be designated as “Christopher’s Law,” requires the owner of a pontoon boat rental business to post a 24 inch by 24 inch metallic warning sign at the rental area’s entrance.
Under the bill, the top portion of the sign is to state: “All unlicensed pontoon boat operators shall complete a pre-rental instruction course in accordance with New Jersey State Law.” The center portion of the sign is to display an image depicting the outline of a person near a propeller surrounded by a red circle with a red backslash bisecting the image. The bottom portion of the sign is to state: “Warning: Rotating propellers can cause serious injury or death.”
Under current law, a person who rents a power vessel is not required to obtain a boating license if he or she meets certain criteria and successfully completes a pre-rental instruction course. It is the sponsor’s intent to ensure that all unlicensed pontoon boat renters are notified that they are required to complete a pre-rental instruction course and are aware of the danger involved when operating a pontoon boat.
This bill is designated as “Christopher’s Law” in recognition of Christopher D'Amico, of Mount Arlington, New Jersey, who was 10 years old when he died in a pontoon boat accident on Lake Hopatcong.