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Contact: June Iljana
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e-mail: pubinfo.dbw.ca.gov

December 22, 2004

New Laws For Measuring Motorboat Noise


Sacramento – Beginning Jan. 1, 2005, boating law enforcement officials will have a safer and more efficient way to measure and enforce existing maximum noise levels for recreational motorboats.

“The new law makes it easier for law enforcement officers to identify boats that are too loud,” said Raynor Tsuneyoshi, Director of the California Department of Waterways. “It does not change established decibel limits for motorboat noise and it is not more restrictive than existing law.”

The law, authored by Assemblyman George Nakano (AB 1555) and sponsored by the Bluewater Network , updates the enforcement testing protocol for motorboat noise. Developed by the Society for Automotive Engineers, the new method enables officers to measure the boat’s noise level at one meter while the boat is idling. The previous testing method required driving the boat at full throttle though a testing lane. It was seldom used because it was unsafe, awkward and inefficient.

The bill also extends the existing motorboat noise law to include coastal waters within one mile of the coastline. Previous boat noise law only covers inland areas. In addition, boat manufacturers must now put a muffling system that ensures the vessel meets existing sound restrictions on all new boats other than those made solely for racing.

A related measure also authored by Nakano (AB 2566) and sponsored by Recreational Boaters of California, makes the vessel’s owner responsible for a motorboat noise violation rather than the operator who may be renting or borrowing the vessel. AB 2566 will also go into effect on Jan. 1, 2005.

“The idea is to make sure the boat owner is the one cited when the boat is not properly muffled because the owner maintains the vessel and makes decisions about how it operates,” explained Tsuneyoshi.

The Department of Boating and Waterways promotes on-the-water safety and helps develop convenient public access to the waterways through programs funded by vessel registration fees, boating fuel tax dollars and boating facility construction loan payments.

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