Lochner Law Firm, P.C.

Todd D. Lochner, Esq.
Greg Singer, Esq.

Lochner Law Firm, P.C.
Donner Building
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Annapolis, MD 21401

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2013 Changes to State Boating Laws

Below is a summry of the major laws affecting the boating industry that were inacted during the 2013 legislative session. The States affected include Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Virginia.


1. Lowered the Boating Under the Influence (BUI) legal limit to .08% BAC, down from .10% BAC.
2. Requires anyone born after January 1, 1998 to complete a boating safety education course.
3. Requires anyone under the age of 13 years old to wear a Personal Flotation Devic (PFD).

1. Requires all resident boaters to complete a boating safety education course.
2. Children under 16 years of age may not operate a vessel, unless accompanied by an adult over 21 years of age.

Requires all boat owners to clean the bottom of their vessels before trailering from one body of water to another. This law is designed to curtail invasive species from being passed to/from the various bodies of water.

Increased the penalty for BUI offenses for operator's involved in an accident. Persons convicted may face up to 1 year in jail and a fine of up to $5,000.00 USD.

Lowered the BUI legal limit to .08% BAC, down from .10% BAC.

Passed a constitutional amendment to allow State legislature to impose different taxes on vessels as opposed to property. This amendment was passed in anticipation for the State legislature to lower tax rates on vessels within the State.

1. Set a cap of $15,000.00USD on vessel excise tax.
2. Closed the "Drunken Sailor" loophole, which exempted nonmotorized sailboats from State BUI laws.

New York:
1. Persons convicted of a BUI offense will be required to obtain a boating safety certificate before operating a future vessel.
2. Suffolk County: Any and all boaters operating a vessel in county waters is required to complete a boating safety education course.

New York is currently considering a law that would tie DUI and BUI violations together. Any individual convicted of either offense would have their driver and boater licenses suspended

Lowered the BUI legal limit to .08% BAC, down from .10% BAC.

Requires all passengers on vessels under 16' to wear PFDs between November 1 through April 30.

Requires anyone born after September 1, 19938 to obtain a safety education certificate. The certificate must be carried at all times when operating a vessel.

Is the first State to pass the Uniform Certificate of Titles for Vessels Act (UCOTVA). The Act was written and promulgated by the Uniform Law Commission in 2011. Besides improving and homogenizing current state title laws, the Act requires “title branding” of vessels that have suffered hull damage – marking the damage directly on the title. Additionally, if the Coast Guard approves the UCOTVA titling procedures, vessels titled in UCOTVA States will be able to secure Preferred Ship Mortgages without having to Federally document their vessels.

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