(a) No person shall operate a vessel with a motor of 10 horsepower or greater on the public waters of this State unless the operator has met the requirements for boating safety education.
(b) A person shall be considered in compliance with the requirements of boating safety education if the person does one of the following:
(1) Completes and passes the boating safety course instituted by the Wildlife Resources Commission under G.S. 75A-16.1 or another boating safety course that is approved by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) and accepted by the Wildlife Resources Commission;
(2) Passes a proctored equivalency examination that tests the knowledge of information included in the curriculum of an approved course;
(3) Possesses a valid or expired license to operate a vessel issued to maritime personnel by the United States Coast Guard;
(4) Possesses a State-approved nonrenewable temporary operator's certificate to operate a vessel for 90 days that was issued with the certificate of number for the vessel, if the boat was new or was sold with a transfer of ownership;
(5) Possesses a rental or lease agreement from a vessel rental or leasing business that lists the person as the authorized operator of the vessel;
(6) Properly displays Commission-issued dealer registration numbers during the demonstration of the vessel;
(7) Operates the vessel under onboard direct supervision of a person who is at least 18 years of age and who meets the requirements of this section;
(8) Demonstrates that he or she is not a resident, is temporarily using the waters of this State for a period not to exceed 90 days, and meets any applicable boating safety education requirements of the state or nation of residency;
(9) Has assumed operation of the vessel due to the illness or physical impairment of the initial operator, and is returning the vessel to shore in order to provide assistance or care for the operator;
(10) Is registered as a commercial fisherman or a person who is under the onboard direct supervision of a commercial fisherman while operating the commercial fisherman's boat; or
(11) Provides proof that he or she was born before January 1, 1988.
Any person who operates a vessel with a motor of 10 horsepower or greater on the waters of this State shall, upon the request of a law enforcement officer, present to the officer a certification card or proof that the person has complied with the provisions of this section.
(c) Any person who violates a provision of this section or a rule adopted pursuant to this section is responsible for an infraction, as provided in G.S. 14-3.1, and shall pay a fine of fifty dollars ($50.00). A person may not be responsible for violating this section if the person produces in court at the adjudicatory hearing a certification card or proof that the person has completed and passed a boating safety course in compliance with subdivision (b)(1) of this section.
(d) No unit of local government shall enact any ordinance or rule relating to boating safety education, and this law preempts all existing ordinances or rules.
(e) An operator of a personal watercraft on the public waters of this State remains subject to any more specific provision of law found in G.S. 75A-13.3. (2009-282, s. 1; 2013-380, s. 9.)
Last modified: March 23, 2014