75A-5. Application for certificate of number; fees; reciprocity; change of ownership; conformity with federal regulations; records; award of certificates; renewal of certificates; transfer of partial interest; destroyed or junked vessels; abandonment; change of address; duplicate certificates; display.

(a) Application for Certificate of Number. - The owner of each vessel requiring numbering by this State shall file an application for a certificate of number with the Commission. The Commission shall furnish application forms and shall prescribe the information contained in the application form. The application shall be signed by the owner of the vessel or the owner's agent and shall be accompanied by a fee, as set out in subsection (a1) of this section. The fee does not apply to vessels owned and operated by nonprofit rescue squads if they are operated exclusively for rescue purposes, including rescue training. The owner shall have the option of selecting a one-year numbering period or a three-year numbering period. Upon receipt of the application in approved form, the Commission shall enter the application in its records and issue the owner a certificate of number stating the identification number awarded to the vessel and the name and address of the owner, and a validation decal indicating the expiration date of the certificate of number. The owner shall paint on or attach to each side of the bow of the vessel the identification number in such manner as may be prescribed by rules of the Commission in order that it may be clearly visible. The identification number shall be maintained in legible condition. The validation decal shall be displayed on the starboard bow of the vessel immediately following the number. The certificate of number shall be pocket size and shall be available for inspection on the vessel for which the certificate is issued at all times the vessel is in operation. Any person charged with failing to so carry a certificate of number shall not be convicted if the person produces in court a certificate of number previously issued to the owner that was valid at the time of the alleged violation.

(a1) Fees. - The fees for certificates of number are as set out in this subsection:

(1) The fee for a certificate of number for a one-year period is:

a. Thirty dollars ($30.00) for a vessel that is less than 26 feet in length.

b. Fifty dollars ($50.00) for a vessel that is 26 feet or more in length.

(2) The fee for a certificate of number for a three-year period is:

a. Ninety dollars ($90.00) for a vessel that is less than 26 feet in length.

b. One hundred fifty dollars ($150.00) for a vessel that is 26 feet or more in length.

(b) Reciprocity. - The owner of any vessel already covered by a number in full force and effect pursuant to federal law or a federally approved numbering system of another state shall record the identification number prior to operating the vessel on the waters of this State in excess of the 90-day reciprocity period provided for in G.S. 75A-7(a)(1). The recordation shall be made pursuant to subsection (a) of this section, except that no additional or substitute identification number shall be issued.

(c) Change of Ownership. - Should the ownership of a vessel change, a new application form with a fee in the amount set in subsection (a) of this section shall be filed with the Commission and a new certificate bearing the same identification number shall be awarded to the new owner in the same manner as an original certificate of number. Possession of the certificate shall in cases involving prosecution for violation of any provision of this Chapter be prima facie evidence that the person whose name appears on the certificate is the owner of the vessel referred to on the certificate.

(d) Conformity With Federal Regulations. - In the event that an agency of the federal government shall have in force an over-all system of identification numbering for vessels within the United States, the numbering system employed pursuant to this Chapter by the Commission shall be in conformity therewith.

(e) Repealed by Session Laws 2006-185, s. 1.

(f) Records. - All records of the Commission made or kept pursuant to this section shall be public records.

(g) Award of Certificates. - Each certificate of number awarded pursuant to this Chapter, unless sooner terminated or discontinued in accordance with the provisions of this Chapter, shall continue in full force and effect to and including the last day of the month during which the certificate was awarded after the lapse of one year in the case of a one-year certificate or three years in the case of a three-year certificate. No person shall willfully remove a validation decal from any vessel during the continuance of its validity or alter, counterfeit, or otherwise tamper with a validation decal attached to any vessel for the purpose of changing or obscuring the indicated date of expiration of the certificate of number of the vessel.

(h) Renewal of Certificates. - An owner of a vessel awarded a certificate of number pursuant to this Chapter shall renew the certificate on or before the first day of the month after which the certificate expires; otherwise, the certificate shall lapse and be void until such time as it may thereafter be renewed. Application for renewal shall be submitted on a form approved by the Commission and shall be accompanied by a fee in the amount set in subsection (a1) of this section.

(i) Transfer of Partial Interest. - The owner shall furnish the Commission notice of the transfer of any part of the owner's interest other than the creation of a security interest in a vessel numbered in this State pursuant to subsections (a) and (b) of this section within 15 days of the transfer. A transfer of partial interest in a vessel shall not affect the owner's right to operate the vessel, nor shall a transfer of partial interest in a vessel terminate the certificate of number.

(i1) Destroyed or Junked Vessels. - The owner of any destroyed or junked vessel shall furnish the Commission notice of the destruction or junking of that vessel within 15 days of its occurrence. Destruction or junking terminates the certificate of number and renders the hull identification number invalid for that vessel.

(i2) Abandonment. - A person may acquire ownership of an abandoned vessel by providing proof to the Commission that the lawful owner has actually abandoned the vessel. The Commission shall adopt rules by which a person seeking to acquire ownership may demonstrate that the vessel is actually abandoned. At a minimum, the rules shall provide for a reasonable attempt to locate the lawful owner and, if the owner is located, notice by the claimant of an intention to claim ownership of the vessel.

(j) Change of Address. - Whenever any person, after applying for or obtaining the certificate of number of a vessel, moves from the address shown in the application or upon the certificate of number, that person shall notify the Commission of the change of address within 30 days of moving in a form acceptable to the Commission.

(j1) Duplicate Certificates. - The Commission shall issue a duplicate certificate of number for a vessel upon application by the person entitled to hold the certificate, if the Commission is satisfied that the original certificate of number has been lost, stolen, mutilated, or destroyed, or has become illegible. The Commission shall charge a fee of five dollars ($5.00) for issuance of each duplicate certificate.

(k) Display. - No number other than the identification number set forth in the certificate of number or granted reciprocity pursuant to this Chapter shall be painted, attached, or otherwise displayed on either side of the bow of a vessel, except the validation decal required by subsection (a) of this section.

(l) Repealed by Session Laws 2006-185, s. 1. (1959, c. 1064, s. 5; 1961, c. 469, s. 1; 1963, c. 470; 1975, c. 483, ss. 1, 2; 1977, c. 566; 1979, c. 761, ss. 1-7; 1981, c. 161; 1983, c. 194; c. 446, ss. 1, 2; 1987, c. 827, s. 4; 1993, c. 422, ss. 2-4; c. 539, ss. 563, 564; 1994, Ex. Sess., c. 24, s. 14(c); 1998-225, s. 4.1; 1999-248, ss. 1, 2; 1999-392, ss. 2-4; 2006-185, s. 1; 2007-485, ss. 4.2, 4.3, 4.4; 2013-360, s. 14.22(b).)