46 U.S.C.
United States Code, 2014 Edition
Title 46 – SHIPPING
Subtitle II – Vessels and Seamen
Part H – Identification of Vessels
CHAPTER 123 – NUMBERING UNDOCUMENTED VESSELS
From the U.S. Government Publishing Office, www.gpo.gov

CHAPTER 123—NUMBERING UNDOCUMENTED VESSELS

Sec.
12301.
Numbering vessels.
12302.
Standard numbering system.
12303.
Exemption from numbering requirements.
12304.
Certificates of numbers.
12305.
Displaying numbers.
12306.
Safety certificates.
12307.
Regulations on numbering and fees.
12308.
Providing vessel numbering and registration information.
12309.
Penalties.

 

§12301. Numbering vessels

(a) An undocumented vessel equipped with propulsion machinery of any kind shall have a number issued by the proper issuing authority in the State in which the vessel principally is operated.

(b) The Secretary shall require an undocumented barge more than 100 gross tons operating on the navigable waters of the United States to be numbered.

(Pub. L. 98–89, Aug. 26, 1983, 97 Stat. 590; Pub. L. 102–587, title V, §5305, Nov. 4, 1992, 106 Stat. 5083.)

Historical and Revision Notes
Revised section Source section (U.S. Code)
12301 46:1466

Section 12301 requires that undocumented vessels that are propelled by machinery be issued an identification number by the proper issuing authority in the State in which the vessel is primarily operated.

Amendments

1992—Pub. L. 102–587 designated existing provisions as subsec. (a) and added subsec. (b).

§12302. Standard numbering system

(a) The Secretary shall prescribe by regulation a standard numbering system for vessels to which this chapter applies. On application by a State, the Secretary shall approve a State numbering system that is consistent with the standard numbering system. In carrying out its numbering system, a State shall adopt any definitions of relevant terms prescribed by regulations of the Secretary.

(b) A State with an approved numbering system is the issuing authority within the meaning of this chapter. The Secretary is the issuing authority in a State in which a State numbering system has not been approved.

(c) When a vessel is numbered in a State, it is deemed in compliance with the numbering system of a State in which it temporarily is operated.

(d) When a vessel is removed to a new State of principal operation, the issuing authority of that State shall recognize the validity of the number issued by the original State for 60 days.

(e) If a State has a numbering system approved after the Secretary issues a number, the State shall recognize the validity of the number issued by the Secretary for one year.

(f) When the Secretary decides that a State numbering system is not being carried out consistent with the standard numbering system or the State has changed the system without the Secretary’s approval, the Secretary may withdraw approval after giving notice to the State, in writing, stating the reasons for the withdrawal.

(Pub. L. 98–89, Aug. 26, 1983, 97 Stat. 590.)

Historical and Revision Notes
Revised section Source section (U.S. Code)
12302 46:1467

Section 12302 provides for a standard numbering system for undocumented vessels and for approval of State numbering systems by the Secretary. It also requires that a State, when implementing its numbering system, adopt any relevant terms required by the Secretary. In States without approved numbering systems, the Federal Government issues the numbers. This section also provides for the operation of a vessel in a State other than the one in which it was numbered.

§12303. Exemption from numbering requirements

(a) When the Secretary is the authority issuing a number under this chapter, the Secretary may exempt a vessel or class of vessels from the numbering requirements of this chapter under conditions the Secretary may prescribe.

(b) When a State is the issuing authority, it may exempt from the numbering requirements of this chapter a vessel or class of vessels exempted under subsection (a) of this section or otherwise as permitted by the Secretary.

(Pub. L. 98–89, Aug. 26, 1983, 97 Stat. 591.)

Historical and Revision Notes
Revised section Source section (U.S. Code)
12303 46:1468

Section 12303 permits the Secretary and any State, when it is the issuing authority, to exempt vessels from the numbering requirements.

§12304. Certificates of numbers

(a) A certificate of number is granted for a number issued under this chapter. The certificate shall be pocketsized, shall be at all times available for inspection on the vessel for which issued when the vessel is in operation, and may be valid for not more than 3 years. The certificate of number for a vessel less than 26 feet in length and leased or rented to another for the latter’s noncommercial operation of less than 7 days may be retained on shore by the vessel’s owner or representative at the place from which the vessel departs or returns to the possession of the owner or the owner’s representative. A vessel that does not have the certificate of number on board shall be identified when in operation, and comply with requirements, as the issuing authority prescribes.

(b) The owner of a vessel numbered under this chapter shall provide—

(1) the issuing authority notice of the transfer of any part of the owner’s interest in the vessel or of the destruction or abandonment of the vessel, within a reasonable time after the transfer, destruction, or abandonment; and

(2) notice of a change of address within a reasonable time of the change, as prescribed by regulation.

(Pub. L. 98–89, Aug. 26, 1983, 97 Stat. 591.)

Historical and Revision Notes
Revised section Source section (U.S. Code)
12304 46:1469

Section 12304 describes a certificate of number and stipulates when it must be carried on board a vessel. It also requires that the number issuing authority be notified when a boat is sold, transferred, destroyed, or abandoned, or when the owner’s address changes.

§12305. Displaying numbers

A number required by this chapter shall be painted on, or attached to, each side of the forward half of the vessel for which it was issued, and shall be the size, color, and type as may be prescribed by the Secretary. No other number may be carried on the forward half of the vessel.

(Pub. L. 98–89, Aug. 26, 1983, 97 Stat. 591.)

Historical and Revision Notes
Revised section Source section (U.S. Code)
12305 46:1470

Section 12305 describes the manner in which a number must be displayed on a vessel, and prohibits the display of other numbers on the forward half of the vessel.

§12306. Safety certificates

When a State is the authority issuing a number under this chapter, it may require that the individual in charge of a numbered vessel have a valid safety certificate issued under conditions set by the issuing authority, except when the vessel is subject to manning requirements under part F of this subtitle.

(Pub. L. 98–89, Aug. 26, 1983, 97 Stat. 591.)

Historical and Revision Notes
Revised section Source section (U.S. Code)
12306 46:1471

Section 12306 authorizes a State that is an issuing authority to require a numbered vessel operator to hold a valid safety certificate, unless the vessel is subject to manning requirements under part F of this subtitle.

§12307. Regulations on numbering and fees

The authority issuing a number under this chapter may prescribe regulations and establish fees to carry out the intent of this chapter. The fees shall apply equally to residents and nonresidents of the State. A State issuing authority may impose only conditions for vessel numbering that are—

(1) prescribed by this chapter or regulations of the Secretary about the standard numbering system; or

(2) related to proof of payment of State or local taxes.

(Pub. L. 98–89, Aug. 26, 1983, 97 Stat. 591.)

Historical and Revision Notes
Revised section Source section (U.S. Code)
12307 46:1472

Section 12307 provides the States or the Secretary with the authority to prescribe regulations and establish fees for carrying out the requirements of this chapter. The fee must apply equally to residents and nonresidents of the State in which the vessel is numbered.

§12308. Providing vessel numbering and registration information

A person may request from an authority issuing a number under this chapter the numbering and registration information of a vessel that is retrievable from vessel numbering system records of the issuing authority. When the issuing authority is satisfied that the request is reasonable and related to a boating safety purpose, the information shall be provided on paying the cost of retrieving and providing the information requested.

(Pub. L. 98–89, Aug. 26, 1983, 97 Stat. 592.)

Historical and Revision Notes
Revised section Source section (U.S. Code)
12308 46:1473

Section 12308 requires the number issuing authority to supply for a fee, numbering and registration information to any person, upon request, if the request is reasonable and related to boating safety.

§12309. Penalties

(a) A person willfully violating this chapter or a regulation prescribed under this chapter shall be fined not more than $5,000, imprisoned for not more than one year, or both.

(b) A person violating this chapter or a regulation prescribed under this chapter is liable to the United States Government for a civil penalty of not more than $1,000. If the violation involves the operation of a vessel, the vessel also is liable in rem for the penalty.

(c) When a civil penalty of not more than $200 has been assessed under this chapter, the Secretary may refer the matter of collection of the penalty directly to the United States magistrate judge of the jurisdiction in which the person liable may be found for collection procedures under supervision of the district court and under an order issued by the court delegating this authority under section 636(b) of title 28.

(Pub. L. 98–89, Aug. 26, 1983, 97 Stat. 592; Pub. L. 101–650, title III, §321, Dec. 1, 1990, 104 Stat. 5117.)

Historical and Revision Notes
Revised section Source section (U.S. Code)
12309(a) 46:1483
12309(b) 46:1484(b)
12309(c) 46:1484(d)

Section 12309 provides for civil and criminal penalties for violation of the vessel numbering provisions in this title.

Change of Name

“United States magistrate judge” substituted for “United States magistrate” in subsec. (c) pursuant to section 321 of Pub. L. 101–650, set out as a note under section 631 of Title 28, Judiciary and Judicial Procedure.