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Portrait of Representative 
		Bill Hudson State Capitol, Room 108
Juneau, AK 99801-1182
Phone: (907) 465-3744
Fax: (907) 465-2273
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Sponsor Statement for HB 108
Use, Regulation, and Operation of Boats

Updated: March 13, 1999

HB 108, if enacted, would establish a comprehensive recreational boating safety program in Alaska. This program would impact motorized recreational vessels only, and would not apply to documented vessels or to vessels engaged in commercial operations, including charter boats.

HB 108 proposes to transfer the responsibilities and regulatory authority over recreational boat safety equipment requirements from the Coast Guard to the State of Alaska. Additionally, the State would assume vessel registration that is currently being managed by the Coast Guard. The Department of Motor Vehicles will conduct the registration process, utilizing their current systems (mail, on-line, and in person registration at any DMV office) In addition, new boat dealers will also be authorized to register boats at the point of sale for the convenience of the boating public.

In 1998, 38 Alaskans lost their lives in boating accidents, and Alaska continues to experience boating fatalities at nearly ten times the national rate. Currently Alaska's boating safety programs are a combination of Coast Guard, State of Alaska, and private and public efforts, which are not centrally located or coordinated. Passage of HB 108 will assure that the State manages and controls it's own boating safety laws and programs.

HB 108 would mandate that recreational boats placed on state waters be equipped with fire extinguishers, personal flotation devices, a sound producing device, back-fire flame protectors, ventilation, and visual distress signals. Currently, the Coast Guard requirements call for this safety equipment to be carried on vessels when on navigable waters within the state. This legislation would expand the current Coast Guard requirement to carry this safety equipment to all waters within the state (the addition of some small streams and small lakes.)

Alaska is the only state in the nation that does not have an approved Boating Safety Program. Because Alaska does not comply with the Federal Safe Boating Act of 1971, our share of federal marine fuel taxes that Alaskans pay is not redistributed back to Alaska, as it is in all other states. Passage of HB 108 will assure we are included in the redistribution of these taxes, bringing approximately $500,000 annually back to the State. These dollars will allow the State to make a major push to educate the boating public about boating safety, thereby lowering the rate of accidents and death on Alaska's Waterways.

Under this proposal, the charge for new registrations will be identical to the charges established by the Coast Guard and will replace those now assessed by the Coast Guard.

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