New York Consolidated Law
Navigation Law - Article 1 - Section 2
S 2. Definitions. The following terms when used in this chapter unless
otherwise expressly stated, or unless the context of the language or
subject matter indicates a different meaning or application was
intended, shall be deemed to mean and include: 1. "Office" shall mean
the state office of parks, recreation and historic preservation.
2. "Commissioner" shall mean the commissioner of parks, recreation and
historic preservation, unless otherwise indicated, except that for
purposes of the administration of articles three and eleven of this
chapter within the sixth park region, the boundaries of which are
described in subdivision six of section 7.01 of the parks, recreation
and historic preservation law, "commissioner" shall mean the
commissioner of environmental conservation.
4. "Navigable waters of the state" shall mean all lakes, rivers,
streams and waters within the boundaries of the state and not privately
owned, which are navigable in fact or upon which vessels are operated,
except all tidewaters bordering on and lying within the boundaries of
Nassau and Suffolk counties.
5. "Navigable in fact" shall mean navigable in its natural or
unimproved condition, affording a channel for useful commerce of a
substantial and permanent character conducted in the customary mode of
trade and travel on water. A theoretical or potential navigability, or
one that is temporary, precarious and unprofitable is not sufficient,
but to be navigable in fact a lake or stream must have practical
usefulness to the public as a highway for transportation.
6. "Vessel" shall mean any floating craft and all vessels shall belong
to one of the following classes:
(a) "Public Vessel" shall mean and include every vessel which is
propelled in whole or in part by mechanical power and is used or
operated for commercial purposes on the navigable waters of the state;
that is either carrying passengers, carrying freight, towing, or for any
other use; for which a compensation is received, either directly or
where provided as an accommodation, advantage, facility or privilege at
any place of public accommodation, resort or amusement.
(b) "Residential vessel" shall mean and include every vessel which is
used primarily as a residence.
(c) "Pleasure vessel" shall mean and include every vessel not within
the classification of public vessel or residential vessel. However, the
provisions of this chapter shall not apply to rowboats, canoes and
kayaks except as otherwise expressly provided.
(d) The term "vessel" as used in this chapter shall not include a crew
racing shell. "Crew racing shell" shall mean any shell, gig, barge or
other boat designed primarily for practice or racing, propelled by oars
or sweeps, in the sport of crew or scull racing conducted by a private
or public educational institution, school, academy, college, university
or association of any of the preceding, or by an amateur sports club or
association or by the United States or International Olympics Committee
and shall not include canoes, rowboats or lifeboats.
The boat or launch accompanying a crew racing shell shall have
sufficient safety devices to aid members of the crew should the need
7. "Owner" shall mean the person actually holding title to a vessel,
except a public vessel chartered unmanned for a period of more than
thirty consecutive days, in which case "owner" shall include the person
chartering the vessel.
8. "Person" shall mean an individual, partnership, corporation or
9. "Master" shall include every individual having for the time the
charge, control or direction of a vessel.
10. "Pilot" shall mean an individual licensed to take charge of the
course of a vessel through or upon specific waters.
11. "Engineer" shall mean an individual licensed to operate a vessel's
main engines and auxiliaries.
12. "Joint pilot and engineer" shall mean an individual licensed to
act as both pilot and engineer for a public vessel which in the judgment
of the inspector can be safely navigated by one individual.
13. "Operator" shall mean an individual who operates or navigates a
14. "License" shall mean a certificate furnished by the inspector.
15. "Inspector" shall mean the individual, or individuals, provided
for in article two, section twelve, of this chapter.
16. "Under way" shall mean that the vessel is not at anchor, or made
fast to the shore, or aground.
17. "Visibility" as applied to lights shall mean discernibility on a
dark night with a clear atmosphere.
18. "Starboard" shall mean the right hand side, facing the bow of the
19. "Port" shall mean the left hand side, facing the bow of the
20. "Wharf" shall mean and include any structure built or maintained
for the purpose of providing a berthing place for vessels.
21. "Dock" shall mean a wharf, or portion of a wharf, extending along
the shore line and generally connected with the uplands throughout its
22. "Pier" shall mean a wharf or portion of a wharf extending from the
shore line with water on both sides.
23. "Jetty" shall mean a structure located within the shore lines of a
body of water for the purpose of controlling currents usually to prevent
filling in a channel.
24. "Breakwater" shall mean a structure located within the shore line
of a body of water for the purpose of providing protection from wind and
25. "Undocumented vessel" shall mean any vessel which is not required
to have, and does not have, a valid marine document issued by the
federal bureau of customs.
26. "Open construction" shall mean that a vessel is so constructed as
to be void of any decking or enclosure which inhibits the continuous and
free circulation of air within the vessel when under way.
27. "Aids to Navigation" shall mean buoys, beacons or other fixed
objects in the water which are used to mark obstructions to navigation
or to direct navigation through safe channels.
28. "Floating Objects" shall mean any anchored marker or platform
floating on the surface of the water other than aids to navigation and
shall include but not be limited to, bathing beach markers, speed zone
markers, information markers, swimming or diving floats, mooring buoys,
fishing buoys, and ski jumps.
29. "Gray water" shall mean waste water generated by water using
fixtures other than toilets; including but not limited to baths, sinks
and laundry facilities used on residential vessels.
30. "Personal watercraft" shall mean a vessel which uses an inboard
motor powering a water jet pump as its primary source of motive power
and which is designed to be operated by a person sitting, standing, or
kneeling on, or being towed behind the vessel rather than in the
conventional manner of sitting or standing inside the vessel.
30-a. "Personal flotation device" shall mean a wearable flotation
device, classified and approved by the United States Coast Guard which
is in such a condition that it is fit for its intended purpose, bears a
legibly marked United States Coast Guard approval number and is of an
appropriate size for the person who intends to use it.
31. "Specialty prop-craft" shall mean a vessel which is powered by an
outboard motor or a propeller driven motor and which is designed to be
operated by a person sitting, standing or kneeling on or being towed
behind the vessel rather than in the conventional manner of sitting or
standing inside the vessel.
32. "Effective muffler" or "underwater exhaust system" shall mean a
sound suppression device or system designed and installed to abate the
sound of exhaust gases emitted from an internal combustion engine and
which prevents excessive or unusual noise, as set forth in section
forty-four of this chapter.
33. "Abandoned historic shipwreck" shall mean wrecks situated on or
under lands owned by the state, in which the state holds title pursuant
to the Abandoned Shipwrecks Act of 1987 (43 U.S.C. 2101) or which, by
reason of their antiquity, history, architecture, archaeology or
cultural value, have state or national importance and are eligible for
inclusion on the state register of historic places, and which have been
abandoned by the owner of record. The term shall include the wreck, its
cargo and contents and the situs.
34. "Wreck" shall mean any wrecked property, other than an abandoned
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