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PA Bulletin, Doc. No. 11-2217



[ 58 PA. CODE CH. 97 ]

Boating; Operator Provided Equipment

[41 Pa.B. 6972]
[Saturday, December 31, 2011]

 The Fish and Boat Commission (Commission) amends Chapter 97 (relating to operator provided equipment). 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 amendment modifies and updates the Commission's boating regulations.

A. Effective Date

 This amendment will go into effect on November 1, 2012, to allow adequate time to notify the public of the new requirement.

B. Contact Person

 For further information on this 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 § 97.1 (relating to personal flotation devices) is published under the statutory authority of

section 5123(a)(5) of the code (relating to general boating regulations).

D. Purpose and Background

 The final-form rulemaking is designed to improve, enhance and update the Commission's boating regulations. The specific purpose of the amendment is described in more detail under the summary of change.

E. Summary of Change

 In the past 15 years, a disproportionate number of recreational boating fatalities occurred in this Commonwealth from November through April primarily due to the effects of coldwater immersion. When water temperatures are less than 70° F, cold water shock is a major factor in boating fatalities. Cold water shock causes an involuntary gasp (often resulting in aspiration of water), hyperventilation, breathlessness and a reduced ability to control breathing and swim. Victims who wear personal flotation devices when exposed to cold water have potentially life-saving advantages such as insulation from the cold, buoyancy for victims who are unable to tread water and reduced risk of aspiration of water. In an effort to reduce the number of fatalities related to coldwater immersion, the Commission amends § 97.1, as set forth in the proposed rulemaking published at 41 Pa.B. 2975 (June 11, 2011), to require life jackets to be worn on small and unstable boats during the period most noted for cold water temperatures, that is November 1 through April 30.

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 impose nominal costs on the private sector and the general public. The cost of personal flotation devices range from $10 to $150.

H. Public Involvement

 Notice of proposed rulemaking soliciting public comments for a period of 60 days was published at 41 Pa.B. 2975. The Commission received a total of 42 comments—8 prior to, 28 during and 6 after the formal comment period. The majority of the comments oppose the proposed rulemaking with the primary reasons being unnecessary government regulation and intrusion on personal decision. Copies of all public comments were provided to the Commissioners.


 The Commission finds that:

 (1) Public notice of intention to adopt the amendment 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 all public comments received were considered.

 (3) The adoption of the amendment 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 Chapter 97, are amended by amending § 97.1 to read as set forth at 41 Pa.B. 2975.

 (b) The Executive Director shall submit this order and 41 Pa.B. 2975 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. 2975 and deposit them with the Legislative Reference Bureau as required by law.

 (d) This order shall take effect on November 1, 2012.

Executive Director

Fiscal Note: Fiscal Note 48A-228 remains valid for the final adoption of the subject regulation.

[Pa.B. Doc. No. 11-2217. Filed for public inspection December 30, 2011, 9:00 a.m.]

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