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PA Bulletin, Doc. No. 99-298




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

Personal Flotation Devices; Issuing Agents; Parasails

[29 Pa.B. 1068]

   The Fish and Boat Commission (Commission) by this orders amends Chapters 55, 93 and 109. The Commission is publishing these amendments under the authority of 30 Pa.C.S. (relating to Fish and Boat Code) (code). The amendments relate to Commission property and boating.

A.  Effective Date

   These amendments will go into effect upon publication of an order adopting the amendments.

B.  Contact Person

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

C.  Statutory Authority

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

D.  Purpose and Background

   The amendments are designed to update, modify and improve Commission regulations pertaining to Commission property, issuing agents and boating. The specific purpose of the amendments is described in more detail under the summary of changes. Prior to consideration by the Commission on proposed rulemaking, 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 Changes

   (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 has adopted an amendment restating 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 has amended § 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, kite 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 has amended this section to allow ski tow ropes of 600 feet for commercial winch boat parasails.

F.  Paperwork

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

G.  Fiscal Impact

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

H.  Public Involvement

   A notice of proposed rulemaking containing the proposed amendments was published at 28 Pa.B. 5132 (October 10, 1998). The Commission did not receive any public comments regarding the proposals.


   The Commission finds that:

   (1)  Public notice of intention to adopt the amendments adopted by this order has been given under sections 201 and 202 of the act of July 31, 1968 (P. L. 769, No. 240) (45 P. S. §§ 1201 and 1202) and the regulations promulgated thereunder, 1 Pa. Code §§ 7.1 and 7.2.

   (2)  A public comment period was provided and no comments were received.

   (3)  The adoption of the amendments of the Commission in the manner provided in this order is necessary and appropriate for administration and enforcement of the authorizing statutes.


   The Commission, acting under the authorizing statutes, orders that:

   (a)  The regulations of the Commission, 58 Pa. Code Chapters 53, 93 and 109, are amended by amending §§ 53.8, 93.13 and 109.4 to read as set forth at 28 Pa.B. 5132.

   (b)  The Executive Director will submit this order and 28 Pa.B. 5132 to the Office of Attorney General for approval as to legality as required by law.

   (c)  The Executive Director shall certify this order and 28 Pa.B. 5132 and deposit them with the Legislative Reference Bureau as required by law.

   (d)  This order shall take effect immediately upon publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.

Executive Director

   Fiscal Note:  Fiscal Note 48A-85 remains valid for the final adoption of the subject regulations.

[Pa.B. Doc. No. 99-298. Filed for public inspection February 26, 1999, 9:00 a.m.]

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