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Cornelius News

Boat safety: New rental regulations take aim at marine mayhem

May 30. By Dave Vieser. Water enthusiasts seeking to rent a boat on Lake Norman take note: The Lake Norman Marine Commission (LNMC) has new Boat Rental Regulations.

For the first time, firms or individuals who offer rental boats are required to adhere to a list of regulations or they will be subject to a possible $500 fine per incident. Those measures include vessel safety checks, permits for each rental boat, liability insurance minimums, and renter training/familiarization requirements.

Why the change in regulations?

Prior to Jan 1, 2024 there were no regulations for rental boat operation on Lake Norman. Since the COVID years, rental activity has exploded putting many people on the lake with little or no boat handling knowledge. The results have been shocking. The LNMC reports that rental boat related deaths have nearly doubled since 2020.

New regulation summary

Here are the new regulations which must be followed by those who own or operate boats for rental purposes

• They must register with LNMC by providing proof of the following:

Signs up at Blythe landing | Lake Norman Boaters Facebook page

• Maintain minimum $500,000 liability insurance

• Rental fleet must pass Vessel Safety Check/be registered by state

• Require that renter/operator is qualified

• Provide instruction on rules/regulations and boat operation

• Provide instruction on boating on Lake Norman (no wake zones etc.)

• Utilize Pre-rental checklist during rental process (maintain signed copy on vessel)

There is a $2 vessel registration fee which is good for two years, to cover administrative costs.

How to apply for the new rental permit

There are several ways to apply for permits. The easiest is to apply on line at the Lake Norman Marine Commission website: www.lnmc.org. Just complete the online application, upload the required supporting documents, and pay the registration fee ($2 per vessel). Another method is to print out the Rental Boat Application Form, complete it, scan it and email it along with copies of all supporting documents.

How will this be enforced?

In the event that a rental boat is pulled over by Lake Patrol or NC Wildlife, and it is determined that the new regulations haven’t been followed (such as no documentation on board the vessel) the rental company/individual could be cited and fined. Violations are considered a class 3 misdemeanor subject to a maximum fine of $500 per incident

Boat rental Q&A

Q: Do the new rental regulations affect individual boat owners who rent out their boats  to make a quick buck?

A: The rental boat regulations affect anyone (rental business or individual) that wishes to rent their vessel for use on Lake Norman

Q: Does a boat renter have to show proof of having received instruction?

A: The rental business/individual must:

• Ensure all Renters/Operators have met North Carolina’s minimum boater education requirements; for example, all Renters born on or after Jan. 1, 1988 must show proof of completing an approved NASBLA boating education course.

• Provide all Renter/Operators with appropriate training based on the rented boat’s complexity and the Renter’s prior boating experience.

• Provide all Renter/Operators with instruction in the proper and safe navigation on Lake Norman, including the issuance of a navigational chart and/or appropriate navigation app.

• Use, have signed by each Renter, and maintain on file a “Pre-Rental/Pre-Ride Instruction Checklist” acknowledging that the requirements of these Boat Rental Regulations have been reviewed and understood by both parties.

Q: How will this be enforced?

A: In the event that a rental boat is pulled over by Lake Patrol or NC Wildlife, and it is determined that these haven’t been done (no documentation on board the vessel, etc.) the rental company/individual could be cited and fined.

Source: Lake Norman Marine Commission


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