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PA Bulletin, Doc. No. 98-1653


[58 PA. CODE CHS. 53, 93 AND 109]

Commission Property and Boating

[28 Pa.B. 5132]

   The Fish and Boat Commission (Commission) proposes to amend §§ 53.8, 93.13 and 109.4 (relating to boats; issuing agents; and water skiing, aquaplaning, site skiing and similar activities). The Commission is publishing these amendments as a notice of proposed rulemaking under the authority of 30 Pa.C.S. (relating to the Fish and Boat Code) (code). The proposed amendments relate to Commission property and boating.

A.  Effective Date

   These proposed amendments, if approved on final rulemaking, will go into effect upon publication of an order adopting the amendments.

B.  Contact Person

   For further information on the proposed changes, contact Laurie E. Shepler, Assistant Counsel, (717) 657-4546, P. O. Box 67000, Harrisburg, PA 17106-7000. This proposal is available electronically through the Commission's Web site (

C.  Statutory Authority

   These proposed amendments are published under the statutory authority of sections 741, 5122 and 5123 of the code (relating to control of property; and registration, licenses, permits, plates and statistics; and general boating regulations).

D.  Purpose and Background

   The proposed amendments are designed to update, modify and improve Commission regulations pertaining to Commission property, issuing agents and boating. The specific purpose of the proposed amendments is described in more detail under the summary of proposal. Prior to consideration by the Commission, the Commission's Boating Advisory Board reviewed all proposals relating to boating and recommended that the Commission approve the publication of a notice of proposed rulemaking containing the amendments.

E.  Summary of Proposal

   1)  Section 53.8 (relating to boats). In response to a request by an individual boater, the Commission in the early 1990s approved the use of non-Coast Guard approved inflatable personal flotation devices (PFDs) by operators of sculls and rowing shells and racing kayaks. Without this exemption, these boats were excluded from Commission lakes because at the time no approved inflatable PFDs were available. In the spring of 1998, manufacturers began to make approved devices. With the introduction of these devices, the exemption is no longer needed.

   Additional staff review of this regulation determined that it was redundant in that the requirement for PFD carriage is covered under § 97.1 (relating to personal flotation devices). Section 97.1(f) exempts sculls, shells and racing kayaks from the PFD requirements except on Commission and State Park lakes. The Commission therefore proposes to restate this restriction in § 53.8 to assure that there is no misunderstanding about the requirements.

   (2)  Section 93.13 (relating to issuing agents). In an attempt to provide a greater opportunity for the boating public to be able to register or transfer registration of a boat, the addition of businesses dealing in temporary tag services or messenger services as boat issuing agents will provide one-step service for the boater with regard to the registration of the boat trailer and boat. Currently these businesses fill out boat registration forms and bring them to the Harrisburg office for the issuance of temporary boat registration decals. This practice has placed an additional demand on the staff in the Registration Section. Boaters currently using these businesses for processing their boat registrations may at times leave with the impression that their boats are legally registered once the messenger or tag service has completed the application. Many of these messengers and tag services provide evening and weekend hours that will be a direct benefit to the public. The Commission therefore proposes to amend § 93.13 to include temporary tag services or messenger services as issuing agents for temporary boat registrations.

   3)  Section 109.4 (relating to water skiing, aquaplaning, site skiing and similar activities). In February 1998, the Commission received a letter requesting that it consider permitting the use of longer rope by commercial parasail operators using winch boats and platforms. This type of operation is common in resort areas and has been successfully used for many years. The benefit of using a winch boat and platform is that rope up to 1,200 feet is possible. This gives the user a greater thrill than the standard 300 foot length currently permitted in this Commonwealth. Additionally, the user is able to take his trip and unless planned can take off and land on the boat without getting in the water. Overall, this type of operation is safer than a nonplatform boat or taking off from the shore or dock. Therefore, the Commission is proposing to amend this section to allow ski tow ropes of 600 feet for commercial winch boat parasails.

F.  Paperwork

   The proposed amendments will not increase paperwork and will create no new paperwork requirements.

G.  Fiscal Impact

   The proposed amendments will have no adverse fiscal impact on the Commonwealth or its political subdivisions. The proposed amendments will impose no new costs on the private sector or the general public.

H.  Public Comments

   Interested persons are invited to submit written comments, objections or suggestions about the proposed amendments to the Executive Director, Fish and Boat Commission, P. O. Box 67000, Harrisburg, PA 17106-7000, within 30 days after publication of this notice in the Pennsylvania Bulletin. Comments submitted by facsimile will not be accepted.

   Comments also may be submitted electronically at '''' A subject heading of the proposal and a return name and address must be included in each transmission. If an acknowledgment of electronic comments is not received by the sender within 2 working days, the comments should be retransmitted to ensure receipt.

Executive Director

   Fiscal Note: 48A-85. No fiscal impact; (8) recommends adoption.

Annex A





§ 53.8.  Boats.

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   (b)  [Watercraft on Commission lakes shall have on board a Coast Guard approved Type I, II, III or V personal flotation device in good serviceable condition for each occupant. Occupants of sculls, shells and racing kayaks may substitute and use non-Coast Guard approved inflatable personal flotation devices in accordance with their design and manufacturer recommendation.] Occupants of sculls, shells and racing kayaks are required to carry or wear a Coast Guard approved personal flotation device.

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Subpart C.  Boating


§ 93.13.  Issuing agents.

   (a)  The designation of issuing agents for temporary boat registrations shall be limited to the Commission and Commission offices, county treasurers [and], businesses dealing in boats, boating equipment or sporting goods and temporary tag services or messenger services approved by the Department of Transportation for the issuance of temporary boat trailer registrations.

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§ 109.4.  Water skiing, aquaplaning, site skiing and similar activities.

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   (e)  Ski tow ropes. Ski tow ropes may not exceed the following lengths:

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   (5)  Commercial winch boat parasails--600 feet.

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[Pa.B. Doc. No. 98-1653. Filed for public inspection October 9, 1998, 9:00 a.m.]

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