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PA Bulletin, Doc. No. 99-1871



[58 PA. CODE CHS. 111 AND 115]

Special Regulations Counties and Boats Carrying Passengers for Hire

[29 Pa.B. 5723]

   The Fish and Boat Commission (Commission) by this order amends Chapters 111 and 115 (relating to special regulations counties; and boats carrying passengers for hire). 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 boating.

A.  Effective Date

   The amendments will go into effect on January 1, 2000.

B.  Contact Person

   For further information on the amendments, contact John F. Simmons, Director, Bureau of Boating and Education, (717) 657-4538, or 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

   The amendments are published under the statutory authority of sections 5122(a)(6) and 5124 of the code (relating to registration, licenses, permits, plates and statistics; and particular areas of water).

D.  Purpose and Background

   The amendments are designed to update, modify and improve Commission regulations pertaining to 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 each proposal and made recommendations to the Commission.

E.  Summary of Changes

   (1)  Section 111.9 (relating to Bucks County). In 1995, the Commission approved the adoption of slow, minimum height swell speed zones under certain bridge spans over the Delaware River in Bucks County. That regulation change made the Commonwealth's regulations consistent with Statewide regulations concerning the operation of boats under bridge spans in New Jersey. The Commission has now amended its regulations to include additional bridge spans between this Commonwealth and New Jersey.

   (2)  Section 111.36 (relating to Lancaster County). In June 1997, the Lancaster Bird Club petitioned the Commission for further regulation of boating on the Susquehanna River in the area between the Washington Boro Islands (Conejohola Flats) and the Lancaster County shoreline. The primary purpose of this request was toprotect the shorebird and other migratory bird populations that frequent this area, as well as to provide a safe haven for unpowered boat users. The area affected is approximately 1/2 mile long and 300 yards wide. It is shallow over much of its length and contains numerous snags and other underwater obstructions. The area is also used routinely by personal watercraft operators.

   On final rulemaking, the Commission has adopted the amendments as proposed with the addition of a minor change for the purposes of clarity.

   (3)  Section 111.46 (relating to Montgomery County). As part of its proposed rulemaking package, the Commission proposed changes to this section. However, the Commission has voted to defer consideration of the proposal on final rulemaking until its January 2000 meeting.

   (4)  Sections 111.52 and 111.64 (relating to Pike County; and Wayne County). The National Park Service (NPS) has broad authority to establish regulations on lands and waters within its jurisdiction. 36 CFR 1.1 (relating to purpose) states that units of the NPS may use their regulatory authority to fulfill the statutory purposes of units of the National Park System to conserve scenery, natural and historic objects, and wildlife and to provide for the enjoyment of those resources in a manner that will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations. Using this authority and that in the specific enabling legislation that created the Upper Delaware National Recreational and Scenic River, the Superintendent promulgated several regulations in 1991 restricting the operation of boats on the Delaware River. Because enforcement is a joint effort between the Commission and the NPS, the Commission believes that the regulations should be consistent. The Commission therefore has amended these sections.

   (5)  Sections 115.9 and 115.10 (relating to licenses for operators; and renewal of operator's license). Section 115.9 (f) provides that operator certificates issued under this section expire on December 31 of the year for which they are issued, and § 115.10 (a) requires operators to renew their licenses by April 1. Over the past years, it has become apparent that owners of passenger for hire vessels have difficulty getting renewal applications with two photos required by § 115.9 (e) for all their prospective employes and still meet the April 1 deadline. This is mostly due to the owner hiring students and other part-time employes that are employed beginning mid-June or later. Commission staff also have experienced difficulty in processing an average of 100 certificates (each year) back to the employer in a reasonable time. Again, this is due to late submissions, placing photos on both the certificates and applications, obtaining appropriate signatures and available staff time. The Commission believes that the 5-year certificate will reduce processing time and the employer will have less difficulty staffing his operations prior to the start of the season. Currently, operators renew licenses annually with no more than their signature. No additional requirements are required by the Commission for renewal. The Commission believes that the annual renewal is an unnecessary paperwork burden on this small business and that a 5-year certificate will meet the Commission's needs. Accordingly, the Commission has adopted the amendments, as proposed, to provide for a 5-year certificate. The Commission also has corrected a spelling error in § 115.10.

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 was published at 29 Pa.B. 3370 (July 3, 1999). The Commission did not receive public comments regarding the proposals except with regard to § 111.36. Prior to the public comment period, the Commission received numerous comments regarding the amendments to § 111.36. The majority of those comments completely rejected the idea of a slow, no wake zone. During the formal public comment period, the Commission received just one comment. That comment opposed the amendment. The Commission also received several comments after the formal public comment period. Copies of all comments have been provided to the Commissioners.


   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 at 1 Pa. Code §§ 7.1 and 7.2.

   (2)  A public comment period was provided and the comments that were received were considered.

   (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 111 and 115, are amended by amending §§ 111.19, 111.52, 111.64 and 115.9 to read as set forth at 29 Pa.B. 3370 (July 3, 1999) and by amending §§ 111.36 and 115.10 to read as set forth in Annex A.

   (b)  The Executive Director will submit this order, 29 Pa.B. 3370 and Annex A to the Office of Attorney General for approval as to legality as required by law.

   (c)  The Executive Director shall certify this order, 29 Pa.B. 3370 and Annex A and deposit the same 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-97 remains valid for the final adoption of the subject regulations.

Annex A



Subpart C.  BOATING


§ 111.36.  Lancaster County.

   (a)  Lake Aldred--Susquehanna River. Boats are limited to slow, minimum height swell speed from the York County shoreline to the northern point of Urey Islands to the southern tip of Blair Island, and back to the York County shoreline. The area is about 1 mile in length.

   (b)  Speedwell Forge Lake. The operation of boats powered by internal combustion motors is prohibited.

   (c)  Susquehanna River. Boats are limited to slow, minimum height swell speed for both of the following:

   (1)  From the Lancaster County shoreline to the northern point of Shad Island south to the southern point of Green Island and back to the Lancaster County shoreline from January 1 to October 1.

   (2)  In all areas between and within 200 feet of the islands comprising the Conejohola Flats.


§ 115.10.  Renewal of operator's license.

   (a)  Operators may apply for a renewal of their license 60 days prior to its expiration. Applications shall be made on the form provided by the Commission and accompanied by the appropriate fees.

   (b)  Applicants for renewal of licenses shall disclose changes in their physical condition or operational capabilities that might affect their ability to operate a boat carrying passengers for hire.

   (c)  If there are no changes to the limitations imposed by the original license, a practical or written examination is not required. An oral examination may be required if there have been significant changes to regulations concerning safe operation of boats, carriage requirements for safety equipment or carrying passengers for hire.

   (d)  A licensed operator who does not renew a license as required by subsection (a) shall reapply in accordance with § 115.9 (relating to licenses for operators).

[Pa.B. Doc. No. 99-1871. Filed for public inspection November 5, 1999, 9:00 a.m.]

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