Encl. (1) to COMDTINST 16750.8A
Group commanders may be authorized to enter into supplementary agreements with
local jurisdictions provided these agreements do not conflict with the District/State
agreement. A copy of such agreements shall be filed with the district Recreational
Boating Safety (RBS) Specialist and Commandant (G-OPB-2).
District commanders may authorize personnel under their command who have
observed violations of State or local boating laws to testify in court concerning the
facts of such observations pursuant to existing instructions in 49 CFR Part 9. Coast
Guard witnesses shall testify in their official capacity.
Responsibility. District commanders shall:
Continue efforts to negotiate agreements with States having no agreement and to
update existing agreements. Direct contact at the highest level of State government
may be desirable in many cases, in addition to liaison with the State Boating Law
Be responsible for negotiation and legal review of agreements with States as listed
in enclosure (3) to this Instruction.
Coordinate agreement development negotiations with other district commanders if a
State is within more than one Coast Guard District, and furnish appropriate district
commander(s) a copy of each agreement made. Forward a copy of all agreements to
Commandant (G-OPB-2) upon execution.
REVIEW OF STATE LAWS AND REGULATIONS.
Discussion. Commandant (G-OPB) will continually review State boating laws and
regulations to ensure compliance with Federal requirements. With certain exceptions, 46
U.S.C. 4306 preempts State laws that establish recreational vessel or associated
equipment performance or other safety standards or impose requirements for associated
equipment that are not identical to regulations prescribed under 46 U.S.C. 4302. Even in
those areas where there are no Federal regulations, States cannot regulate recreational
vessels, associated performance, or other safety standards. However, 46 U.S.C. 4306
permits States to regulate the use or carrying of marine safety articles if there is a uniquely
hazardous condition within the State and the Secretary (through the Commandant) does
not object to that regulation. Finally, even absent a uniquely hazardous condition, 46
U.S.C. 4305 allows the Secretary (through the Commandant) to permit State regulations
(waive preemption) of recreational vessel safety where the Secretary determines that
recreational vessel safety will not be adversely affected by the regulations. The
Commandant has waived preemption for State equipment carriage requirements in effect
prior to 10 August 1971. Commandant (G-OPB) will advise the States in writing of any
discrepancies in their laws, specifically pointing out those portions that are subject to 46
U.S.C.4306, and those areas that might make the States ineligible for Federal financial
assistance. A copy of such correspondence shall be forwarded to the cognizant district