Oscure or not boat law...

Discussion in 'All Things Boats & Boating' started by Externet, May 19, 2016.

  1. Externet
    Joined: May 2009
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    Location: Mideast U.S.

    Externet Junior Member

    Hi all.

    At sometime, I heard that any boat bought had to have a plate with safety/manufacturer/data in order to navigate.
    At the same time, a USA backyard built boat needed nothing to be legal to navigate.
    Does it mean an owner-built boat cannot be sold for navigation ?

    How is the details or a link to the exact legislation ?
    If I remember, there was also a rule that only boats made in USA from USA materials were acceptable for use in USA. Can someone fine-tune / correct that ?
     
  2. gonzo
    Joined: Aug 2002
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    Location: Milwaukee, WI

    gonzo Senior Member

    Any homebuilt boat can be sold without problem. If you build too many, depending on the state, it will get you into the professional boatbuilding category and you will need to register. There is no rule about boats made in the USA having to be made out of USA materials. No boat could be built under those rules. If you build a boat and sell it, the buyer can make you responsible for defects or illegal installations, unless you have a watertight contract specifying that the buyer is aware of possible violations.
     
  3. Ike
    Joined: Apr 2006
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    Location: Washington

    Ike Senior Member

    You need to look at Safety Standards for Backyard Boatbuilders http://newboatbuilders.com/docs/backyardboatbuilders.pdf It is bit dated but most of the information is good.

    Also read page 10 in Boating Safety Circular 89 http://uscgboating.org/library/boating-safety-circulars/Boating-Safety-Circular-Spring-2016.pdf

    Also: this is an e-mail from Po Chang at the Office Of Boating Safety in response to a query by me. I worked there for 20 some year and the rules had changed a bit since I left in 2004.

    By the way those phone numbers are no longer good. They moved USCG HQ and everything changed. The e-mail is still good. The office number for general inquires is 202-372-1077

    As far as your question goes there are quite a few caveats. First the rules apply to specific classes of boats. For instance if you build a canoe the only requirement is a Hull ID number and that can be gotten from the state. If you build a boat over 20 feet in length no regulations apply EXCEPT, if it has an inboard gas engine the engine must be fitted with a backfire flame arrestor and the ventilation requirements for engine and fuel spaces.
    But if you build a row boat with no engine, you do not have to meet the capacity and flotation standards, but you do need and HIN.

    Anyway.
    the catch 22's are:
    The state may require a capacity label. Some do. Pennsylvania will even issue you one. But if you get stopped by a state water cop they are going to ask to see the label and if there isn't one you may get a citation.
    If you try to insure it the insurance company may say no way unless it meets all standards for that type of boat.
    If you want to sell it you may have a difficult time selling any boat that has an inboard engine or a gas outboard that doesn't meet standards for fuel systems, electrical systems and ventilation.

    Now for the good news:
    If you buy a kit, the kit manufacturer is required to supply all the information you need to comply with the standards for that boat, including a HIN.

    PS: the reg cited above; definition of Manufacturer in 181.3 as any person engaged in the manufacture, construction, or assembly of boats or associated equipment, also says "for the purpose of sale"
     
  4. DCockey
    Joined: Oct 2009
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    Location: Midcoast Maine

    DCockey Senior Member

    Sounds like a version of some of the "Jones Act" requirements for boats transporting passengers or goods for hire between US ports without a stop outside the US. Not applicable to recreational boats and some other types of boats.
     
  5. DCockey
    Joined: Oct 2009
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    Location: Midcoast Maine

    DCockey Senior Member

    From one of Ike's links:
    My recollection is catamarans and pontoon boats are also exempt from at least some of the requirements.

    Rowboats under 20' in length without provisions for mounting an engine are required to meet capacity and floatation requirements. However the requirements are modified from those applicable to powerboats.
     
  6. Ike
    Joined: Apr 2006
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    Location: Washington

    Ike Senior Member

    Dave, he was asking about homebuilt. Boats built for the purpose of sale have to meet those requirements. But if he builds it for himself then they don't, but as I said there are caveats. Other factors come in to play so it's best to just build it to the standards anyway. It doesn't cost much to put flotation in your boat and calculating the capacities is free. All it takes is your time and grade school math.

    As for boats carrying passengers for hire, less than 100 gross tons and more than 6 passengers, yes the Jones act applies and they must be built in the USA. It doesn't say they have to be made of material from the USA. But only if they trade solely between US ports. If they go to foreign ports the rule are less stringent. There have been exceptions made for some foreign built boats. It also doesn't apply to 6 or less passengers (6 pack) boats. They have to meet the recreational boat standards.
     

  7. DCockey
    Joined: Oct 2009
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    Location: Midcoast Maine

    DCockey Senior Member

    Agree, same for any homebuilt boat.
     
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