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TO AMEND SECTION 50-21-80, AS AMENDED, CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, RELATING TO ENFORCEMENT OF BOATING LAWS, SO AS TO FURTHER PROVIDE FOR THIS ENFORCEMENT, THE AUTHORITY OF ALL LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS TO ENFORCE THESE PROVISIONS, AND TO PROVIDE PENALTIES FOR VIOLATION; TO AMEND SECTION 50-21-114, AS AMENDED, RELATING TO OPERATING A WATER DEVICE UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF ALCOHOL OR DRUGS AND THE IMPLIED CONSENT FOR A BREATH TEST TO DETERMINE BLOOD ALCOHOL LEVELS, SO AS TO FURTHER PROVIDE FOR PROCEDURAL MATTERS IN REGARD TO THESE TESTS; TO AMEND SECTION 50-21-130, AS AMENDED, RELATING TO DUTIES OF A VESSEL OPERATOR INVOLVED IN A COLLISION, SO AS TO FURTHER PROVIDE FOR THESE DUTIES INCLUDING WHEN AN ACCIDENT REPORT IS REQUIRED AND TO STIPULATE THE PERSONS AND ENTITIES WHO MAY OBTAIN A COPY OF THE REPORT; BY ADDING SECTION 50-21-118 SO AS TO PROVIDE THAT THE OPERATOR OF A WATERCRAFT IS STRICTLY LIABLE FOR THE ACTIONS AND CONDUCT OF ALL PERSONS ON BOARD AND ANY PERSONS BEING TOWED BY THE WATERCRAFT; TO AMEND SECTION 50-21-175, AS AMENDED, RELATING TO WATERCRAFT REQUIRED TO HEAVE, SO AS TO PROVIDE THAT THE MAGISTRATES COURT RETAINS JURISDICTION OVER VIOLATIONS OF THIS SECTION; BY ADDING SECTION 50-21-190 SO AS TO PROVIDE THAT IT IS UNLAWFUL TO ABANDON A WATERCRAFT OR OUTBOARD MOTOR ON THE PUBLIC LANDS OR WATERS OF THIS STATE OR ON PRIVATE PROPERTY WITHOUT PERMISSION OF THE PROPERTY OWNER AND TO ALSO PROVIDE PENALTIES FOR VIOLATIONS; TO AMEND SECTION 50-21-710, AS AMENDED, RELATING TO AIDS TO NAVIGATION AND REGULATORY MARKERS, SO AS TO PROVIDE THAT ALL NO WAKE ZONES HERETOFORE ESTABLISHED ARE CONSIDERED ESTABLISHED PURSUANT TO THE AUTHORITY OF THIS SECTION; AND TO REPEAL SECTIONS 50-21-132, 50-21-133, 50-21-135, 50-21-136, 50-21-137, 50-21-138, 50-21-139, 50-21-142, 50-21-143, 50-21-144, 50-21-145, 50-21-147, AND 50-21-149 RELATING TO NO WAKE ZONES OR OTHER REGULATION OF WATERCRAFT ACTIVITIES.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:
SECTION 1. Section 50-21-80 of the 1976 Code, as last amended by Act 181 of 1993, is further amended to read:
"Section 50-21-80. Any person employed or elected by this State or political subdivision thereof, whose duty it is to preserve the peace or to make arrests or to enforce the law
, including, but not limited to, members of the sheriff's departments, state police, enforcement officers, or deputies, or other qualified persons, upon recommendation of the appropriate agency, may , upon recommendation of the appropriate agency, be empowered to enforce the provisions of this chapter. The department shall be the agency primarily responsible for enforcement of this chapter and rules and regulations issued thereunder all laws pertaining to boating. Any such person shall also have the authority to stop and board any vessel subject to the provisions of this chapter or to any rule or regulation for the purpose of inspection or determining compliance with the provisions of this chapter and is empowered to issue a summons for appearance in court or before a magistrate or make arrest for violations of this chapter or of the rules and regulations prescribed thereunder under it. Every vessel subject to this chapter if underway and upon being hailed by a designated law-enforcement officer shall stop immediately and lay to, or shall maneuver in such a way as to permit such officer to come aboard."
SECTION 2. Section 50-21-114 of the 1976 Code, as last amended by Act 61 of 2003, is further amended to read:
"Section 50-21-114. (A)(1) A person who operates a water device is considered to have given consent to chemical tests or analysis of his breath, blood, or urine to determine the presence of alcohol, drugs, or a combination of both, if arrested for an offense arising out of acts alleged to have been committed while the person was operating or directing the operation of a water device while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or a combination of both. A test given must be administered at the direction of the arresting law enforcement officer. At the direction of the arresting officer, the person first must be offered a breath test to determine the alcohol concentration of his blood. If the person is physically unable to provide an acceptable breath sample because he has an injured mouth, is unconscious or dead, or for any other reason considered acceptable by licensed medical personnel, a blood sample may be taken. If the officer has reasonable grounds to believe the person is under the influence of drugs other than alcohol, the officer may order that a urine sample be taken for testing. If the breath analysis reading is eight one-hundredths of one percent or above by weight of alcohol in the person's blood, the officer may not require additional tests of the person as provided in this chapter.
(2) The breath test must be administered by a person trained and certified by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED), using methods approved by SLED. The arresting officer may administer the tests if testing is done in conformity with the standards set out by SLED. Blood and urine samples must be taken by physicians licensed by the State Board of Medical Examiners, registered nurses licensed by the State Board of Nursing, or other medical personnel trained to take the samples
in a licensed medical facility. Blood samples or urine samples must be obtained and handled in accordance with procedures approved by SLED. No tests may be administered or samples taken unless the person has been informed that he does not have to take the test or give the samples, but that his privilege to operate a water device must be suspended or denied for one hundred eighty days if he refuses to submit to the tests.
(3) A hospital, physician, qualified technician, chemist, or registered nurse who takes samples or conducts the test or participates in the process of taking the samples or conducting the test in accordance with this section is not subject to a cause of action for assault, battery, or any other cause alleging that the drawing of blood or taking of samples at the request of the arrested person or a law enforcement officer was wrongful. This release from liability does not reduce the standard of medical care required of the person taking the samples or conducting the test. This qualified release also applies to the employer of the person who conducts the test or takes the samples. No person may be required by the arresting officer, or by any other law enforcement officer, to obtain or take any sample of blood or urine.
(4) The person tested or giving samples for testing may have a qualified person of his own choosing conduct additional tests at his expense and must be notified of that right. A person's failure to request additional blood or urine tests is not admissible against the person in a criminal trial. The failure or inability of the person tested to obtain additional tests does not preclude the admission of evidence relating to the tests or samples taken at the direction of the law enforcement officer.
(5) The arresting officer
must shall provide reasonable assistance to the person to contact a qualified person to conduct additional tests.
must shall administer the provisions of this subsection and may promulgate regulations necessary to carry out its provisions. The cost of the tests administered at the direction of the law enforcement officer must be paid from the general fund of the State. A fee of fifty dollars must be assessed at the time of the sentencing against persons convicted of, pleading guilty or nolo contendere to, or forfeiting bond for violating Section 50-21-112 or Section 50-21-113. This fee must be forwarded by the county treasurer to the State Treasurer and credited to the general fund of the State to defray any costs incurred by SLED and individuals and institutions obtaining the samples forwarded to SLED.
(B) In any criminal prosecution where a test or tests were administered pursuant to this chapter, the amount of alcohol in the person's blood at the time of the alleged violation, as shown by chemical analysis of the person's breath or other body fluids, gives rise to the following inferences:
(1) If there was at that time five one-hundredths of one percent or less by weight of alcohol in the person's blood, it is presumed conclusively that the person was not under the influence of alcohol.
(2) If there was at that time in excess of five one-hundredths of one percent but less than eight one-hundredths of one percent by weight of alcohol in the person's blood, this fact does not give rise to any inference that the person was or was not under the influence of alcohol, but this fact may be considered with other competent evidence in determining the guilt or innocence of the person.
(3) If there was at that time eight one-hundredths of one percent or more by weight of alcohol in the person's blood, it may be inferred that the person was under the influence of alcohol.
(C) The provisions of this section may not be construed as limiting the introduction of other competent evidence bearing upon the question of whether or not the person was under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or a combination of them. Refusal, resistance, obstruction, or opposition to testing pursuant to this section is admissible as evidence at the trial of a person charged with the offense that precipitated the request for testing.
(D) A person who is unconscious or otherwise in a condition rendering him incapable of refusal is considered to be informed and not to have withdrawn the consent provided by subsection (A).
(E) If a person under arrest refuses, upon the request of a law enforcement officer, to submit to chemical tests provided in subsection (A), none may be given, but the department, on the basis of
a the report from the law enforcement officer that the arrested person was operating a watercraft or water device within this State while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or a combination of them, and that the person had refused to submit to the tests, shall suspend his privilege to perform the above-mentioned activities operate watercraft or water devices upon the waters of the State for one hundred eighty days. The department must immediately notify the person whose privileges are suspended by certified mail. The one hundred eighty-day period of suspension begins with the day ten days after the date of the notice required to be given, unless a hearing is requested as provided, in which case the one hundred eighty-day period begins with the day after the date of the order sustaining the suspension mailing. The report of the arresting officer must include what grounds he had for believing the arrested person was conducting the above-mentioned activity while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or a combination of them. An appeal may be taken pursuant to the Administrative Procedures Act.
Upon suspending the operating privilege of a person, the department immediately shall notify the person in writing and upon his request give him an opportunity for a hearing as provided in Article 3, Chapter 23, Title 1 of the 1976 Code. The review must be scheduled by the Administrative Law Judge Division in accordance with the division's procedural rules. The scope of the hearing is limited to the issues set out by the Administrative Procedures Act and the division's procedural rules. Upon order of the administrative law judge, the department either shall rescind its order of suspension or continue the suspension of the privilege.
(G) If a boating accident or marine casualty involves a fatality, the coroner having jurisdiction shall direct that a chemical blood test be performed on the deceased, within forty-eight hours of receiving notification of the death, to determine blood alcohol concentration or the presence of drugs, and that the results of the test be recorded properly in the coroner's report.
(H)(G) The suspensions under this section are in addition to and not in lieu of any other civil remedies or civil penalties which may be assessed."
SECTION 3. Section 50-21-130(A), (C), and (D) of the 1976 Code, as last amended by Act 124 of 1999, is further amended to read:
"(A) It is the duty of the operator of a vessel involved in a collision, accident, or other casualty, if he can do so without serious danger to his own vessel, crew, or passengers
, and guests, to render assistance as may be practical or necessary to persons affected by the collision, accident, or other casualty including personal injury or property damage and also to give his name, address, and identification of his vessel in writing to any person injured and to the owner of any property damaged in the collision, accident, or other casualty. A person who fails to stop or to comply with the requirements of this section, is guilty of:
(1) a misdemeanor, when personal injury or property damage results but great bodily injury or death does not result; and, upon conviction, must be imprisoned not less than thirty days nor more than one year or fined not less than one hundred dollars nor more than five thousand dollars, or both;
(2) a felony when great bodily injury results and, upon conviction, must be imprisoned not less than thirty days nor more than ten years and fined not less than five thousand dollars nor more than ten thousand dollars; or
(3) a felony when death results and, upon conviction, must be imprisoned not less than one year nor more than twenty-five years and fined not less than ten thousand dollars nor more than twenty-five thousand dollars.
(C) In the case of a reportable accident, the operator or owner of any vessel involved shall file a full description of the accident with the department
, including any information the department may require. If the operator or owner is incapable of making the report, the investigating officer shall submit the report and provide any information the department may require when requested as part of the investigation . In addition, the operator and owner shall file a full description of the accident with the department within forty-eight hours of the accident. The owner or operator of a watercraft involved must furnish his name, address, and identification of his watercraft in writing to any person injured or the owner of any property damaged in the accident as soon as possible after the collision. In the event an accident results in death, loss of consciousness or serious bodily injury the owner or operator immediately shall notify the department.
(D) The accident report
shall must be without prejudice, shall and must be for the information of the department. , and shall not be open to public inspection. Provided, however, the report shall be made available to any person injured or damaged or to any person alleged to have caused injury or damage in the accident, or to his attorney. The fact that such report has been made shall be admissible in evidence solely to show compliance with this section but no such report nor any part thereof nor any statement contained therein shall be admissible as evidence for any purpose in any civil trial. An insured may not be reimbursed for property lost until he files a report in compliance with this section. However, a person alleged to have sustained injury or property damage or alleged to have caused injury or property damage, their attorney, personal representative, or an insurer may obtain a copy of the report. The fact the report has been made is admissible solely to show compliance with this section, but no report or any part or statement contained in the report is admissible for any purpose in a civil trial. An insured alleged to be responsible for the accident cannot be reimbursed for property damages until the report is filed in compliance with this section."
SECTION 4. Article 1, Chapter 21, Title 50 of the 1976 Code is amended by adding:
"Section 50-21-118. The operator of a watercraft is strictly liable for the actions and conduct of all persons on board and any persons being towed by the watercraft."
SECTION 5. Section 50-21-175 of the 1976 Code, as last amended by Act 342 of 2002, is further amended by adding:
"(D) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the magistrates court retains jurisdiction for violations of this section."
SECTION 6. Chapter 21, Title 50 of the 1976 Code is amended by adding:
"Section 50-21-190. (A) It is unlawful to abandon a watercraft or outboard motor on the public lands or waters of this State or on private property without permission of the property owner. This section does not apply to persons who abandon a watercraft in an emergency for the safety of the persons onboard; however, after the emergency is over the owner and operator of the abandoned watercraft shall make a bona fide attempt to recover the watercraft.
(B) A person violating the provisions of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be fined not less than one thousand dollars nor more than five thousand dollars or imprisoned up to thirty days or both. In addition, the owner must remove the abandoned watercraft within fourteen days of conviction. The magistrates and municipal courts are vested with jurisdiction for cases arising under this section.
(C) An abandoned watercraft must be removed at the risk and expense of the owner."
SECTION 7. Section 50-21-710 of the 1976 Code, as last amended by Act 289 of 2006, is further amended to read:
"Section 50-21-710. (A) As used in this section:
(1) 'Aids to navigation' means any device designed or intended to assist a navigator to determine his position or safe course or to warn him of danger or obstructions to navigation.
(2) 'Regulatory markers' means any device which indicates to a vessel operator the existence of dangerous areas as well as those which are intended to restrict or control, such as speed zones and areas dedicated to a particular use or to provide general information and directions. This includes bathing markers, speed zone markers, information markers, danger zone markers, boat keep out areas, mooring buoys, wharves, docks, obstructions or hazards to navigation, and any activity, object, or construction in the waters of the State.
(B) The department may promulgate regulations for the uniform marking of the waters of the State and may regulate the operation of all vessels, watercraft, and water devices through the placement of aids to navigation and regulatory markers. The regulations shall establish a marking system compatible with the system of aids to navigation prescribed by the United States Coast Guard or its successor agency. No city, county, or person shall mark or obstruct the waters of this State in any manner so as to endanger the operation of watercraft or conflict with the marking system prescribed by the department.
(C) The operation of any vessel, watercraft, or water device within a prohibited area is negligent operation unless the seriousness of the operation within a prohibited area constitutes reckless operation.
(D) It shall be unlawful for a person to operate a vessel, watercraft, or water device on the waters of this State in a manner other than that prescribed or permitted by regulatory markers.
(E) No person may moor or fasten a vessel, watercraft, or water device to or wilfully damage, tamper, remove, obstruct, or interfere with any aid to navigation or regulatory marker established pursuant to this chapter.
(F) All no wake zones heretofore established are considered established pursuant to the authority of this section.
(G) A person who violates a provision of this section or regulation promulgated pursuant to this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be punished as provided in this chapter."
SECTION 8. Sections 50-21-132, 50-21-133, 50-21-135, 50-21-136, 50-21-137, 50-21-138, 50-21-139, 50-21-142, 50-21-143, 50-21-144, 50-21-145, 50-21-147, and 50-21-149 of the 1976 Code are repealed.
SECTION 9. This act takes effect six months after approval by the Governor.
This web page was last updated on Monday, June 22, 2009 at 3:11 P.M.