1547.01 Watercraft and waterway definitions.

(A) As used in sections 1541.03 , 1547.26 , 1547.39 , 1547.40 , 1547.53 , 1547.54 , 1547.541 , 1547.542 , 1547.543 , 1547.56 , 1547.57 , 1547.66 , and 5311.01 of the Revised Code, "watercraft" means any of the following when used or capable of being used for transportation on the water:

(1) A vessel operated by machinery either permanently or temporarily affixed;

(2) A sailboat other than a sailboard;

(3) An inflatable, manually propelled boat that is required by federal law to have a hull identification number meeting the requirements of the United States coast guard;

(4) A canoe or rowboat.

"Watercraft" does not include ferries as referred to in Chapter 4583. of the Revised Code.

Watercraft subject to section 1547.54 of the Revised Code shall be divided into five classes as follows:

Class A: Less than sixteen feet in length;

Class 1: At least sixteen feet, but less than twenty-six feet in length;

Class 2: At least twenty-six feet, but less than forty feet in length;

Class 3: At least forty feet, but less than sixty-five feet in length;

Class 4: At least sixty-five feet in length.

(B) As used in this chapter:

(1) "Vessel" includes every description of craft, including nondisplacement craft and seaplanes, designed to be used as a means of transportation on water.

(2) "Rowboat" means any vessel, except a canoe, that is designed to be rowed and that is propelled by human muscular effort by oars or paddles and upon which no mechanical propulsion device, electric motor, internal combustion engine, or sail has been affixed or is used for the operation of the vessel.

(3) "Sailboat" means any vessel, equipped with mast and sails, dependent upon the wind to propel it in the normal course of operation.

(a) Any sailboat equipped with an inboard engine is deemed a powercraft with auxiliary sail.

(b) Any sailboat equipped with a detachable motor is deemed a sailboat with auxiliary power.

(c) Any sailboat being propelled by mechanical power, whether under sail or not, is deemed a powercraft and subject to all laws and rules governing powercraft operation.

(4) "Powercraft" means any vessel propelled by machinery, fuel, rockets, or similar device.

(5) "Person" includes any legal entity defined as a person in section 1.59 of the Revised Code and any body politic, except the United States and this state, and includes any agent, trustee, executor, receiver, assignee, or other representative thereof.

(6) "Owner" includes any person who claims lawful possession of a vessel by virtue of legal title or equitable interest therein that entitled the person to that possession.

(7) "Operator" includes any person who navigates or has under the person's control a vessel, or vessel and detachable motor, on the waters in this state.

(8) "Visible" means visible on a dark night with clear atmosphere.

(9) "Waters in this state" means all streams, rivers, lakes, ponds, marshes, watercourses, waterways, and other bodies of water, natural or humanmade, that are situated wholly or partially within this state or within its jurisdiction and are used for recreational boating.

(10) "Navigable waters" means waters that come under the jurisdiction of the department of the army of the United States and any waterways within or adjacent to this state, except inland lakes having neither a navigable inlet nor outlet.

(11) "In operation" in reference to a vessel means that the vessel is being navigated or otherwise used on the waters in this state.

(12) "Sewage" means human body wastes and the wastes from toilets and other receptacles intended to receive or retain body waste.

(13) "Canoe" means a narrow vessel of shallow draft, pointed at both ends and propelled by human muscular effort, and includes kayaks, racing shells, and rowing sculls.

(14) "Coast guard approved" means bearing an approval number assigned by the United States coast guard.

(15) "Type one personal flotation device" means a device that is designed to turn an unconscious person floating in water from a face downward position to a vertical or slightly face upward position and that has at least nine kilograms, approximately twenty pounds, of buoyancy.

(16) "Type two personal flotation device" means a device that is designed to turn an unconscious person in the water from a face downward position to a vertical or slightly face upward position and that has at least seven kilograms, approximately fifteen and four-tenths pounds, of buoyancy.

(17) "Type three personal flotation device" means a device that is designed to keep a conscious person in a vertical or slightly face upward position and that has at least seven kilograms, approximately fifteen and four-tenths pounds, of buoyancy.

(18) "Type four personal flotation device" means a device that is designed to be thrown to a person in the water and not worn and that has at least seven and five-tenths kilograms, approximately sixteen and five-tenths pounds, of buoyancy.

(19) "Type five personal flotation device" means a device that, unlike other personal flotation devices, has limitations on its approval by the United States coast guard, including, without limitation, all of the following:

(a) The approval label on the type five personal flotation device indicates that the device is approved for the activity in which the vessel is being used or as a substitute for a personal flotation device of the type required on the vessel in use.

(b) The personal flotation device is used in accordance with any requirements on the approval label.

(c) The personal flotation device is used in accordance with requirements in its owner's manual if the approval label refers to such a manual.

(20) "Inflatable watercraft" means any vessel constructed of rubber, canvas, or other material that is designed to be inflated with any gaseous substance, constructed with two or more air cells, and operated as a vessel. Inflatable watercraft propelled by a motor shall be classified as powercraft and shall be registered by length. Inflatable watercraft propelled by a sail shall be classified as a sailboat and shall be registered by length.

(21) "Idle speed" means the slowest possible speed needed to maintain steerage or maneuverability.

(22) "Diver's flag" means a red flag not less than one foot square having a diagonal white stripe extending from the masthead to the opposite lower corner that when displayed indicates that divers are in the water.

(23) "Muffler" means an acoustical suppression device or system that is designed and installed to abate the sound of exhaust gases emitted from an internal combustion engine and that prevents excessive or unusual noise.

(24) "Law enforcement vessel" means any vessel used in law enforcement and under the command of a law enforcement officer.

(25) "Personal watercraft" means a vessel, less than sixteen feet in length, that is propelled by machinery and designed to be operated by an individual sitting, standing, or kneeling on the vessel rather than by an individual sitting or standing inside the vessel.

(26) "No wake" has the same meaning as "idle speed."

(27) "Watercraft dealer" means any person who is regularly engaged in the business of manufacturing, selling, displaying, offering for sale, or dealing in vessels at an established place of business. "Watercraft dealer" does not include a person who is a marine salvage dealer or any other person who dismantles, salvages, or rebuilds vessels using used parts.

(28) "Electronic" includes electrical, digital, magnetic, optical, electromagnetic, or any other form of technology that entails capabilities similar to these technologies.

(29) "Electronic record" means a record generated, communicated, received, or stored by electronic means for use in an information system or for transmission from one information system to another.

(30) "Electronic signature" means a signature in electronic form attached to or logically associated with an electronic record.

(31) "Drug of abuse" has the same meaning as in section 4506.01 of the Revised Code.

(32) "Watercourse" means a substantially natural channel with recognized banks and bottom in which a flow of water occurs, with an average of at least ten feet mean surface water width and at least five miles of length.

(33) "Impoundment" means the reservoir created by a dam or other artificial barrier across a watercourse that causes water to be stored deeper than and generally beyond the banks of the natural channel of the watercourse during periods of normal flow, but does not include water stored behind rock piles, rock riffle dams, and low channel dams where the depth of water is less than ten feet above the channel bottom and is essentially confined within the banks of the natural channel during periods of normal stream flow.

(34) "Wild river area" means an area declared a wild river area by the director of natural resources under this chapter and includes those rivers or sections of rivers that are free of impoundments and generally inaccessible except by trail, with watersheds or shorelines essentially primitive and waters unpolluted, representing vestiges of primitive America.

(35) "Scenic river area" means an area declared a scenic river area by the director under this chapter and includes those rivers or sections of rivers that are free of impoundments, with shorelines or watersheds still largely primitive and shorelines largely undeveloped, but accessible in places by roads.

(36) "Recreational river area" means an area declared a recreational river area by the director under this chapter and includes those rivers or sections of rivers that are readily accessible by road or railroad, that may have some development along their shorelines, and that may have undergone some impoundment or diversion in the past.

Amended by 129th General AssemblyFile No.28, HB 153, §101.01, eff. 9/29/2011.

Amended by 128th General AssemblyFile No.9, HB 1, §101.01, eff. 7/17/2009.

Effective Date: 07-05-2002; 08-17-2006