NASBLA Roundtable

 View Only
  • 1.  Efoil Determination

    Posted 03-09-2022 01:43 PM
    When Efoils initially started coming out, the USCG determined them to be considered vessel type 'other'. I understand that they are now considering changing the determination and classifying them as PWC's. As a PWC, the Efoil would be subject to the safety requirements Maryland currently have ie. life jacket, must be 16 to operate, etc.  I am seeking input on how other state's are classifying/enforcing Efoils, and if classified as a PWC, did/would you be using your current PWC regulations, or would/did you adopt regulations specific to Efoils? Thank you.


    ------------------------------
    Scott Forrest
    Lieutenant
    MD Natural Resources Police
    ------------------------------


  • 2.  RE: Efoil Determination

    Posted 03-10-2022 07:50 AM

    We have not seen a large influx of them here in RI yet just a handful.  They dO fit our regulations definition of a PWC and will be treated as such for enforcement purposes.  Meaning the operator will be required to have a BSC regardless of age and be subject to all of the specific PWC regulations we have on the books.

     

    Mike Schipritt

    RIBLA

     

     

    Sent from Mail for Windows

     






  • 3.  RE: Efoil Determination

    Reporting Project
    Workgroup
    Posted 03-10-2022 08:23 AM

    Yes, an e-foil must comply with all PWC regulations in Texas to include not being operated at night, PFD wear requirements, 50 ft rule for operation on plane, etc.

    Texas always deemed an e-foil as a PWC based on our definition which is very similar to the federal definition and speaks to sitting, standing or kneel on the device rather than in the device like a traditional motorboat. I believe this issue to be very similar to the JetLevs, kymera body boards and other unique personal devices on the market. While many have the term Personal Watercraft closely associated with the "jet ski" the truth is the term and associated definition are a much broader category of craft.



    ------------------------------
    Cody Jones
    Boating Law Administrator
    Texas Parks & Wildlife Dept


    ------------------------------



  • 4.  RE: Efoil Determination

    CRBP Commissioner
    Posted 03-10-2022 09:46 AM
    By definition, Oklahoma considers e-foil vessels as PWCs and will enforce all boating regulations that apply.  This includes all current PWC-specific regulations - PFD wear, operational distances, education requirements, hours of operation/lighting, etc.

    ------------------------------
    Lt. Mark Brown
    Boating Law Administrator
    Oklahoma Highway Patrol Marine Enforcement Section
    Oklahoma City, OK USA
    ------------------------------



  • 5.  RE: Efoil Determination

    Posted 03-10-2022 11:18 AM
    Efoils and the like are prohibited by regulation in CT.

    Here is the reference:

    Regulations of CT State Agencies
    Sec. 15-121-A10. Self-propelled water-skis or surf boards prohibited. Operation of wing-in-ground effect vessels restricted.

    (a) No person shall operate a self-propelled water-ski or surf board on the waters of the state. For the purpose of this regulation, a self-propelled waterski or surf board is a vessel propelled by machinery, which:

    (1) Has a width not greater than twenty-four inches, or

    (2) Is capable of carrying at least one individual who while operating the vessel, has no means of steerage other than by shifting his or her body weight.

    (b) No person shall operate any device on the waters of the state, which tows a waterskier who controls the direction and speed of the motorized towing device using remote control lines.

    (c) No person shall operate a wing-in-ground effect vessel on or over waters of this state unless approval is granted by the  Commissioner for recreational operation or from the United States Coast Guard, Captain of the Port for research and
    development or commercial operations. For the purposes of this subsection a "wing-in-ground effect vessel" is a vessel that is capable of operating completely above the surface of the water on a dynamic cushion created by aerodynamic lift due to the ground effect between the vessel and the water surface.

    ------------------------------
    Peter Francis
    CT Dept of Energy and Environmental Protection
    ------------------------------



  • 6.  RE: Efoil Determination

    Posted 03-14-2022 07:43 AM

     Hello everyone,

    Our industry recently met for the WSIA annual conference and we discussed this exact issue. Below are some notes that I took away from our manufacturers: 

    Benefits:

    1. Safety Provisions - If a consumer is required to register an E-Foil as a PWC, then the safety requirements for user operation would apply to an E-Foil. This includes:
      1. Mandatory USCG life jacket wear
      2. Prohibition of nighttime usage.
      3. If the manufacturer equips the product with a lanyard or other type of cut-off switch, it must be attached to the operator.

        I consider all of the safety provisions above to be an acceptable and welcomed requirement for all users of these products.

    2. Consumer Protections – I believe these products have the potential to be quite popular given their physical size and market price point. While an E-Foil is undoubtedly cheaper than a new wake boat, I would argue that they are still an expensive and sizeable investment for any consumer. Registration in states that also require vessel titling would produce a layer of protection in terms of establishing the rightful owner of the E-Foil. Given these products' physical size and value, it is reasonable to anticipate a higher likelihood of theft if and when left unattended. Additionally, suppose a registered E-Foil is recovered by law enforcement. In that case, identifying and contacting the rightful owner enables marine police to ensure that a person/operator is not missing and that the product is returned to the owner.

     

    Concerns:

    1. Operational Age Limits
      1. Most states have an age requirement to operate a PWC – typically, the age requirement is 16 years old but this number varies state-by-state.
    2. Some bodies of water (especially smaller private lakes) throughout the U.S. have implemented a time of use restriction on PWCs. While almost every state prohibits nighttime usage of PWC's below are some additional examples:
      1. On public lakes In the State of Minnesota, you cannot begin operating a PWC until 9:30 a.m.
      2. A private lake example could be a body of water that restricts PWC operation within a small time window to regulate traffic. E-Foils could face an unintended regulated time of operation in this scenario.
      3. Many bodies of water regulate the operational distance of PWCs to be at least 150 feet from the shoreline. While the distance varies from state to state, E-Foils must comply with this regulation if registered as a PWC.
    3. Many lakes (primarily private but some public) prohibit the use of PWCs on the water altogether but do currently allow E-foils. I worry that registration as a PWC would change an E-Foil's access to these waters.
    4. Consumers that already have registered E-foils in registration required states currently have the designation of "vessel-other" what happens to existing products with this designation?
    5. If classified as a PWC, then an E-foil will be subject to the following standard prohibitions in many states:
      1. PWC's are prohibited from jumping or attempting to jump the wake of another vessel within 100 feet. Many E-foil owners typically take the product out on another vessel with them for the day and often operate within a 100-foot distance from their "primary vessel." This action would now be prohibited if an E-foil were classified as a traditional PWC.
      2. PWC operators are prohibited from riding backward and/or standing on the seat of the craft while riding. E-foils do not have a traditional seat and standing on the craft is necessary for regular operation.
         

        How E-Foils differ from PWCs:

        1. An E-foil does not have a steering mechanism like a traditional personal watercraft.
        2. Horsepower & speed – the horsepower and overall speed are dramatically less than a traditional personal watercraft.
        3. Noise – These products are nowhere near the same decibel output of a traditional personal watercraft. Because they are electric, they are silent.
        4. E-Foils have electric propulsion and thus would not need to carry a required fire extinguisher that a traditional PWC must have onboard.
        5. Occupancy rating is for one person, whereas a traditional personal watercraft can accommodate more than one rider.


        I hope this information was helpful from the industry side. Please do not hesitate to reach out if you could answer any of the concerns that I listed above. My email is Lee@wsia.net and cell is 931-267-0673. Thank you!

        Lee Gatts



        ------------------------------
        Lee Gatts
        Water Sports Industry Association
        ------------------------------