2010 Tennessee Code
Title 69 - Waters, Waterways, Drains And Levees
Chapter 9 - Boating Regulation
Part 2 - Boating Safety
69-9-216 - Prohibited acts.

69-9-216. Prohibited acts.

(a)  No person shall operate or interfere with the safe operation of any motorboat or vessel, or manipulate any water skis, surfboard, tube, specialty recreational device or similar device in a reckless or negligent manner so as to endanger the life, limb, or property of any person. Notwithstanding § 69-9-219 to the contrary, any person who interferes with the safe operation of any motorboat or vessel in a reckless or negligent manner so as to endanger the life, limb, or property of any person commits a Class C misdemeanor; provided, that any person who through such interference causes bodily injury or death commits a Class A misdemeanor.

(b)  (1)  It is unlawful for any person less than twelve (12) years of age to operate any vessel propelled by machinery upon the waters of Tennessee unless the person is under the direct supervision of an adult. This prohibition does not apply if the person is operating a vessel powered by a motor of eight and one-half (8.5) horsepower or less.

     (2)  For the purpose of this subsection (b), “direct supervision” means being in such proximity with the operator so as to be able to take immediate control of the vessel.

     (3)  Such supervising adult shall be jointly liable with the owner of a vessel as provided in § 69-9-215.

(c)  (1)  Any person who operates a motorboat towing any person riding or attempting to ride upon one (1) or more water skis, surfboard, tube, specialty recreational device or similar device on the waters of the state shall have present in such vessel a person or persons, twelve (12) years of age or older, other than the operator, who shall at all times observe the progress of the person being towed and the operator of the towing vessel shall at all times maintain an alert lookout ahead. This provision does not apply to motorboats equipped with not less than a one hundred seventy degree (170°) wide angle rear-view mirror affixed in such a manner as will permit the operator to observe the progress of the person being towed.

     (2)  No person shall ride or attempt to ride upon water skis, surfboard, tube, specialty recreational device or similar device, or use or operate any vessel to tow any person on the waters of the state between sunset and sunrise and during periods of restricted visibility, except upon special permit issued by the agency.

     (3)  Any person riding or attempting to ride upon one (1) or more water skis, surfboard, tube, specialty recreational device or similar device, shall wear an adequate and effective life preserver, buoyant vest, or life belt filled with kapok, styrofoam, or cork, except upon special permit issued by the agency. Any operator of a vessel towing any person on water skis, surfboard, tube, specialty recreational device or similar device who is not wearing a life preserver, buoyant vest or life belt as prescribed in this subdivision (c)(3) is deemed in violation of this section.

     (4)  It is unlawful for any person or persons to install, or maintain any structure, or inclined platform known as a water ski jump on the waters of the state and it is unlawful for any person to use such platform, or structure for the purpose of water ski jumping, except upon special permit issued by the agency.

     (5)  The provisions of this subsection (c) do not apply to a performer engaged in a professional exhibition or a person or persons engaged in an activity authorized by the agency.

     (6)  No person shall operate or manipulate any vessel, tow rope or other device by which the direction or location of water skis, surfboard, tube, specialty recreational device or similar device may be affected or controlled in such a way as to cause the water skis, surfboard, tube, specialty recreational device or similar device, or any person on the water skis, surfboard, tube, specialty recreational device or similar device, to collide with or strike against any object or person.

(d)  No person, except an authorized representative of the federal government, the state, or any of its political subdivisions, shall use or operate a siren on the waters of this state.

(e)  No person shall purposely sever the mooring lines, set adrift, injure, or damage in any manner any vessel that is moored, docked, buoyed, or tied up on the waters of the state, or purposely alter, injure, damage or destroy any buoys, markers, aids or lights placed, erected, or installed, for the safe operation of vessels upon the waters of this state.

(f)  No person shall knowingly or purposefully give false information to the executive director or the executive director's officers or designees during an accident investigation or while checking for compliance with the provisions of this chapter.

(g)  Except to the extent permitted by federal law and in order to protect the health and safety of persons using the waters of the state, it is unlawful for any person to operate or use a vessel capable of discharging untreated sewage from such vessel into the waters of this state. It is also unlawful to discharge any treated or untreated sewage into any waters of the state lawfully designated as “no discharge.” Such designation shall be based on the criteria as established by the United States environmental protection agency for determining discharge/no discharge waters regarding marine sanitation devices. Any such discharge of sewage from a vessel shall be prima facie evidence that the discharge was done by the operator, or owner if the operator cannot be determined, of such vessel; further, where such discharges are allowed under the federal Clean Water Act and its implementing regulations, United States coast guard approved Type I and Type II marine sanitation devices are the only acceptable discharge treatment devices that may be used on the waters of this state, except that only Type II discharge devices may be used on vessels over sixty-five feet (65¢) in length unless otherwise provided by rule or regulation. The agency may establish by rule and regulation a system of inspection for compliance to be conducted by a properly trained, qualified and bonded private individual. This system shall in no way affect inspections as permitted under § 69-9-220.

(h)  Any person or persons affected by a decision of the agency may appeal such decision to the commission.

[Acts 1965, ch. 334, §§ 13, 14, 16; 1977, ch. 305, § 1; 1979, ch. 37, §§ 1, 2; T.C.A. (orig. ed.), §§ 70-2213, 70-2214, 70-2216; Acts 1989, ch. 92, §§ 4-6; 1991, ch. 218, § 2; 1992, ch. 601, § 2; 1995, ch. 39, §§ 1-6; 1998, ch. 1008, § 1; 2000, ch. 830, § 2; T.C.A. § 69-10-216; Acts 2005, ch. 181, §§ 1, 2; 2007, ch. 185, § 11.]  

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