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Prohibited Operations.

No person under the age of fifteen (15) shall operate or be permitted to operate a motorboat or personal watercraft upon the waters of the State, except persons twelve (12) to fifteen (15) years of age may operate a motorboat or personal watercraft if a person over eighteen (18) years of age is aboard the motorboat or personal watercraft. However, persons twelve (12) to fifteen (15) years of age may operate a motorboat up to a maximum of ten (10) horsepower without having an adult on board.

No person who owns a motorboat or personal watercraft or who has charge over or control of a motorboat or personal watercraft shall authorize or knowingly permit a motorboat or personal watercraft to be operated in violation of any West Virginia Boating Regulation.

No person may operate or give permission for the operation of a vessel which is not equipped as required by the West Virginia Boating Regulations.

No person may operate a vessel in a reckless or negligent manner so as to endanger the life, limb, or property of any person.

No person shall operate any motorboat or vessel while under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance or drug, under the combined influence of alcohol and any controlled substance or any other drug, or while having an alcohol concentration in his or her blood of eight hundredths (.08) of one percent or more, by weight. A more comprehensive description of this prohibition may be found in the West Virginia Code, chapter twenty, article 7 [20-7-18b].

No person may operate or knowingly permit another person to operate a vessel if that person, by reason of physical or mental disability, is incapable of operating the vessel in a safe manner under all the prevailing circumstances.

No person may operate or knowingly permit another person to operate a vessel at a rate of speed greater than will permit that person, in the exercise of reasonable care, to bring the vessel to a stop within the assured clear distance ahead. This provision does not apply to the operator of a vessel competing in a regatta which is sanctioned under the provisions of W. Va. Code 20-7-20 who is attempting to attain high speeds on a marked race course.

No person may make a reckless approach to or passage by a dock or ramp, a moored or anchored vessel, or a marked swimming area.

No person may operate a motorboat at a speed greater than the speed limits established on the waters of a government-owned reservoir or on streams that have been designated as "No Wake Speed Zones.

No person shall operate a personal watercraft at any time between sunset to sunrise.

No person shall operate a personal watercraft unless the lanyard cut off switch, if so equipped by the manufacturer, is attached to the operator's person, clothing, or personal floatation device.

All persons shall operate a personal watercraft in a reasonable and prudent manner at all times. Maneuvers which unreasonably or unnecessarily endanger life, limb, or property shall constitute reckless operation of the vessel.

The prohibitions listed in this section do not apply to participants in an approved and permitted regatta, race, marine parade, tournament, or exhibition.

NOTE: FOR A MORE COMPREHENSIVE LISTING OF THE BOATING REGULATIONS, PICK UP A COPY FROM ANY DIVISION OF MOTOR VEHICLES OR DIVISION OF NATURAL RESOURCES OFFICE.


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