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PA Bulletin, Doc. No. 11-2215



[ 58 PA. CODE CHS. 53, 97 AND 111 ]

General Provisions; Boating

[41 Pa.B. 6968]
[Saturday, December 31, 2011]

 The Fish and Boat Commission (Commission) amends Chapters 53, 97 and 111 (relating to Commission property; operator provided equipment; and special regulations counties). The Commission is publishing this final-form rulemaking under the authority of 30 Pa.C.S. (relating to the Fish and Boat Code) (code). The amendments modify and update the Commission's property and boating regulations.

A. Effective Date

 This final-form rulemaking will go into effect upon publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.

B. Contact Person

 For further information on the final-form rulemaking, contact Wayne Melnick, Esq., P. O. Box 67000, Harrisburg, PA 17106-7000, (717) 705-7810. This final-form rulemaking is available on the Commission's web site at

C. Statutory Authority

 The amendment to § 53.2 (relating to camping and cooking) is published under the statutory authority of section 741 of the code (relating to control of property). The amendments to §§ 97.3 and 97.5 (relating to sound producing devices; and visual distress signals) are published under the statutory authority of section 5123(a)(5) of the code (relating to general boating regulations). The amendments to §§ 111.31 and 111.43 (relating to Huntingdon County; and Mercer County) are published under the statutory authority of section 5124 of the code (relating to particular areas of water).

D. Purpose and Background

 The final-form rulemaking is designed to improve, enhance and update the Commission's property and boating regulations. The specific purpose of the amendments is described in more detail under the summary of changes. The Commission solicited the advice and opinion of its Boating Advisory Board on the proposed amendments prior to final adoption.

E. Summary of Changes

 (1) On October 4, 1976, the Commission established the Natural Access Area Program (Program) to make available public fishing and boating opportunities to some of the most scenic and inaccessible waterways within this Commonwealth. The Commission established rules and regulations for access areas designated under the Program and a special use permit for overnight camping at a cost of $2 per boat. On July 29, 1977, the Commission entered into an agreement with the Department of Environmental Resources to establish the Allegheny River State Park in Venango County as the first primitive rest stop access under the Program.

 The Commission has not entered into other agreements or established other properties under the Program nor has it collected permit fees from the Program. A variety of agencies and organizations currently offer primitive access opportunities across this Commonwealth with accompanying regulations, enforcement and management. The Commission will continue to provide assistance for the development of primitive access for public fishing and boating opportunities. However, the Commission has discontinued the Program and amends § 53.2 to read as set forth in the proposed rulemaking published at 41 Pa.B. 2978 (June 11, 2011).

 (2) The Commission's current regulations are consistent with Inland Navigation Rule 32, Part D—Sound and Light Signals, regarding required sound equipment for boats. However, the Commission's use of ''oral'' in describing the requirement for unpowered boats may be misconstrued as meaning shouting or whistling as being an acceptable sound signal. The Commission has clarified the requirement by adding a statement indicating that an athletic coach's whistle is an acceptable sound producing device for unpowered boats. Additionally, the Commission has included a prohibition against the use of sound signals except in the case of an emergency. The Commission amends § 97.3 to read as set forth in the proposed rulemaking.

 (3) The Commission's regulation for visual distress signals (VDS) is consistent with 33 CFR 175.125 (relating to serviceability) requiring that VDS must be in serviceable condition. However, there is not a definition for ''serviceable'' as it relates to inspecting VDS. The Commission therefore defines ''serviceable'' based on the standards used by the United States Coast Guard, Boating Safety Division. The Commission amends § 97.5 to read as set forth in the proposed rulemaking.

 (4) During the summer of 2010, the United States Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) jointly developed a plan that recommends changes to enhance recreation on the lake. The Corps' goals for Lake Raystown are to reduce the costs of the buoy program by transferring costs to parties who benefit, eliminate buoys that are redundant to Commission regulations, replace buoys with signage and analyze existing lake zoning versus observed usage patterns. As a result, the plan recommends eliminating the ''slow, no wake speed'' designation in the areas of Hawns Run Cove and Anderson Bay.

 The narrow geography of Hawns Run Cove already restricts a portion of the cove to slow, no wake according to Commission regulations and Anderson Bay is more frequently used by trolling anglers rather than recreational boaters. Therefore, the Commission has removed the slow, no wake designation from both areas. The Commission amends § 111.31 to read as set forth in the proposed rulemaking.

 (5) State Game Lands 270 contains approximately 300 acres of Lake Wilhelm. In 2006, electric motors were permitted on a sizeable part of Lake Wilhelm that runs through State Game Lands 270 from the old log boom to the State Propagation Area above the Sheakleyville Bridge. Currently, the area is posted with ''Electric Motors Only'' posters at the boat launches, Sheakleyville Bridge and the old boom which is now just a line of buoys. There was no Commission regulation prohibiting the operation of boats powered by internal combustion motors in this area. Therefore, the Commission has adopted an amendment prohibiting the operation of boats powered by internal combustion motors. The remainder of the lake is owned by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Bureau of State Parks, and has a 20 horsepower restriction on it. The Commission amends § 111.43 to read as set forth in the proposed rulemaking.

F. Paperwork

 The final-form rulemaking will not increase paperwork and will not create new paperwork requirements.

G. Fiscal Impact

 The final-form rulemaking will not have adverse fiscal impact on the Commonwealth or its political subdivisions. The final-form rulemaking will not impose new costs on the private sector or the general public.

H. Public Involvement

 Notice of proposed rulemaking containing the proposed amendments was published at 41 Pa.B. 2978. The Commission received one public comment generally supporting the proposed amendment to § 97.3. The Commission did not receive public comments concerning the other proposed amendments. Copies of the public comments were provided to the Commissioners.


 The Commission finds that:

 (1) Public notice of intention to adopt the amendments adopted by this order has been given under sections 201 and 202 of the act of July 31, 1968 (P. L. 769, No. 240) (45 P. S. §§ 1201 and 1202) and the regulations promulgated thereunder, 1 Pa. Code §§ 7.1 and 7.2.

 (2) A public comment period was provided and public comments received were considered.

 (3) The adoption of the amendments of the Commission in the manner provided in this order is necessary and appropriate for administration and enforcement of the authorizing statutes.


 The Commission, acting under the authorizing statutes, orders that:

 (a) The regulations of the Commission, 58 Pa. Code Chapters 53, 97 and 111, are amended by amending §§ 53.2, 97.3, 97.5, 111.31 and 111.43 to read as set forth at 41 Pa.B. 2978.

 (b) The Executive Director shall submit this order and 41 Pa.B. 2978 to the Office of Attorney General for approval as to legality and form as required by law.

 (c) The Executive Director shall certify this order and 41 Pa.B. 2978 and deposit them with the Legislative Reference Bureau as required by law.

 (d) This order shall take effect upon publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.

Executive Director

Fiscal Note: Fiscal Note 48A-229 remains valid for the final adoption of the subject regulations.

[Pa.B. Doc. No. 11-2215. Filed for public inspection December 30, 2011, 9:00 a.m.]

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