In response to an accident two summers ago involving a rental boat, Lake Norman Marine Commission (LNMC) has released a rental boat cooperative agreement in hopes to preventing future accidents on the lake.

There is currently no safety education requirements specifically for boat liveries, or rental boat operators, and current regulations are completely inadequate to address safe rental boat operations, the LKMC said in a press release.

The LNMC determined these issues with the current operations of rental boat companies:

• Boat rentals from private residences and rental properties are numerous.  Law enforcement advises that many times, if stopped, these renters say that they have a “friend’s boat”.  Identifying these types of “boat rental facilities” would be very difficult.

• The current “Boating Safety Education” Law requires only that the renter possess “a rental or lease agreement from a vessel rental or leasing business”.

• This law also says that “no unit of local government shall enact any ordinance or rules relating to boating safety education, and this law preempts all existing ordinances or rules.

• Several of the boat livery owners advised that part of their pre-rental practice was to show a safe boating movie and other specific safety education steps. 

Items on the LNMC best practices lists for boat rental companies include providing a training movie, making location of emergency equipment readily available, explaining navigation rules, providing lake charts, explaining life jacket requirements and no-wake zone rules.

In addition, these rental boat companies will be asked to explain the “10 second rule” to renters.

The rule states that no occupants of a boating vessel should enter the water until at least 10 seconds have passed since the engine was shut off.

Boat rental services that abide by these rules will be listed on the marine commission’s website so that potential boat renters know which companies are following the guide lines.

These companies will also be asked to carry marine liability insurance, provide the LNMC with the number of rental boats available and create rental contracts for customers.

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