Sec. 58-12-13 - Outfitter Trip Guides, Operations and Equipment

§ 58-12-13. Outfitter Trip Guides, Operations and Equipment

13.1. Applicability. All applicable provisions of the W. Va. Code of State Rules, including Title 58 Series 11, Hunting, Fishing and Other Outfitters and Guides, and W. Va. Code § 20-7-18b apply to outfitter operations. Section 13 of this rule shall apply only to outfitters operating on the following river sections:

13.1.1. New River: From the confluence of Manns Creek to Teays Landing.

13.1.2. Gauley River: From the Summersville Lake Dam to Upper Swiss.

13.2. Definitions.

13.2.1. These definitions shall only apply to outfitters for the purposes of section 13 of this rule and shall not apply to commercial whitewater outfitters.

13.2.2. "Outfitter Evaluation Trip" means a trip provided by an outfitter, licensed in this state, to determine that the outfitter guide trainee meets the criteria outlined in section 13.2 of this rule. Evaluation trips must be conducted on the river or sections of river to be guided.

13.2.3. "Outfitter Familiarization Trip" means a trip provided by an outfitter, licensed in this state, to familiarize an outfitter guide trainee on the river or sections of river to be guided. Familiarization trips must be conducted on the river or sections of river to be guided.

13.2.4. "Outfitter Guide Trainee" means a person who is attempting to become qualified as an outfitter guide in accordance with the provisions of this section of this rule.

13.2.5. "Outfitter Training Trip" means a trip provided by an outfitter licensed in the state which offers to the outfitter guide trainee substantial opportunity to acquire the necessary skills required by section 13 of this rule.

13.3. Outfitter Trip Guides.

13.3.1. An Outfitter Trip Guide shall:

13.3.1.a. Be at least 18 years old, unless approved in writing by the director. However, they may begin training with an outfitter when at least 16 years old; and

13.3.1.b. For the New River from the confluence of Manns Creek to Teays Landing as listed in subsection 13.1.1 of this rule;

13.3.1.b.1. Have completed a minimum of 15 outfitter training trips including at least five outfitter training trips in the same or similar type of raft used by the outfitter for trips, two outfitter familiarization trips and one outfitter evaluation trip on the New River section as listed in subsection 13.1.1 of this rule. One of the outfitter familiarization trips and the outfitter evaluation trip shall be in the same or similar type of craft used by the outfitter for trips. The second outfitter familiarization trip may count as the outfitter evaluation trip. These training trips may be conducted by the outfitter instead of by a commercial whitewater outfitter. However, training trips conducted by an outfitter shall not be recognized nor counted for any commercial whitewater purpose; or

13.3.1.b.2. Have completed a minimum of 15 outfitter trips or commercial whitewater outfitter expeditions in a raft on a river in which a commercial whitewater guide is required in every raft; and two outfitter familiarization trips and one outfitter evaluation trip. The second outfitter familiarization trip may count as the outfitter evaluation trip; or

13.3.1.c. For the Gauley River from the Summersville Lake Dam to Upper Swiss as listed in subsection 13.1.2 of this rule;

13.3.1.c.1. Have completed a minimum of 40 outfitter trips or commercial whitewater expeditions in a raft on a river in which a commercial whitewater guide is required in every raft. And two outfitter familiarization trips and one outfitter evaluation trip. The second outfitter familiarization trip may count as the outfitter evaluation trip.

13.3.1.d. Be able to operate watercraft used by the outfitter on the rivers or sections of rivers to be guided; and

13.3.1.e. Supervise passengers and capably provide suitable orientation instructions to the passengers in his or her watercraft on subjects which may include, but not be limited to, safety, personal flotation devices and how to stay in the boat and paddle if applicable; and

13.3.1.f. Have a valid American Red Cross first aid card or its equivalent and have a current CPR certification by either the American Red Cross or the equivalent; and

13.3.1.g. Have a general knowledge of emergency access and evacuation routes; and

13.3.1.h. Be familiar with floating and swimming in whitewater conditions in a personal flotation device.

13.3.1.i. For training and evaluation purposes, an outfitter guide trainee may act as an outfitter trip guide on an outfitter trip if the outfitter guide trainee is directly and actively supervised by an outfitter guide who is present in the watercraft.

13.3.1.j. The outfitter shall document all outfitter familiarization trips and outfitter evaluation trips on the outfitter guide trainee's Outfitter Guide Information Sheet and maintain it with the outfitter guide's records.

13.3.1.k. An outfitter trip guide qualified on those sections of rivers as listed in subsections 13.1.1 and 13.1.2 of this rule remains qualified if he or she meets the requirements set forth in subdivision 13.3.1.j of this rule.

13.3.1.l. Commercial Whitewater Guides used on Outfitter Trips. An outfitter may employ or utilize a qualified commercial whitewater guide on an outfitter trip for any river section listed under section 13.1 of this rule. Such guide must be qualified for each river section that he or she guides on and the outfitter must first obtain a copy of that guides whitewater guide trainee information sheet before utilizing or employing him or her and the outfitter must also maintain such record for two years after that last date the guide was utilized or employed. However, an outfitter guide shall not be used or employed by a commercial whitewater outfitter in the same manner.

13.3.1.m. All guides providing services for outfitter trips in this state shall, while providing such services, conform to the standard of care expected of members of their profession.

13.4. Outfitter Guide Trainee Information Sheet.

13.4.1. Individual guides are responsible for completing the Outfitter Guide Trainee Information Sheet furnished by the division. The outfitter shall provide forms to individual guides or guide trainees.

13.4.2. An outfitter shall not employ a guide trainee to guide an outfitter trip until it has received the outfitter guide trainee's information sheet.

13.4.3. A West Virginia outfitter guide is not required to supplement the outfitter guide trainee information sheet except to show qualifications for additional rivers or sections that require a certified outfitter guide.

13.4.4. The outfitter is responsible for keeping on file the original or a certified copy of the original completed outfitter guide trainee information sheet. These records shall be maintained by the outfitter for two years following the guide's last date of employment. The outfitter shall provide the guide or outfitter guide trainee with a certified copy of the outfitter trainee information sheet and upon request, shall forward a copy to the Division of Natural Resources, Law Enforcement Section, 324 Fourth Avenue, South Charleston, West Virginia 25303-1228.

13.4.5. Regarding new hires. Guides and outfitter guide trainees shall submit the completed Outfitter Guide Trainee Information Sheet on the first day of employment with an outfitter.

13.4.6. Documents relating to any of the requirements of this rule shall be maintained by the outfitter for inspection by the director or his or her representative.

13.5. Outfitter Operations.

13.5.1. While underway each passenger, outfitter guide trainee and outfitter trip guide shall have readily available a personal flotation device of an appropriate design and fit for each activity type and person as defined and approved by the United States Coast Guard pursuant to 33 C.F.R. § 175.13 2014 et seq. as authorized by 46 U.S.C. § 4302 and as prescribed in subsection 13.6.1. However, while underway any child under the age of 13 must wear a securely fastened vest-type personal flotation device of an appropriate design and fit for each activity type and person as defined and approved by the United States Coast Guard pursuant to 33 C.F.R. § 175.13 2014 et seq. as authorized by 46 U.S.C. § 4302 and as prescribed in subsection 13.6.1. The outfitter shall maintain all personal flotation devices in a good and serviceable condition.

13.5.2. There shall be a minimum of one outfitter trip guide in each watercraft, except for inflatable kayaks and kayaks, unless otherwise designated in section 14 of this rule. Section 14 requirements shall only apply to rented watercraft on river sections specifically permitting rental watercraft which are listed in section 14. There are no trip leader requirements for outfitter trips.

13.5.3. Each outfitter trip using kayaks or inflatable kayaks shall have a minimum of one outfitter trip guide for each six customers or any portion thereof on any river section listed under section 13.1 of this rule unless stated otherwise. However;

13.5.3.a. Only one outfitter guide is required for outfitter trips using inflatable kayaks and kayaks on the Gauley River from Mason's Branch to Upper Swiss if the river flow is under 1000 cubic feet per second.

13.5.3.b. Outfitter trips using kayaks or inflatable kayaks on the New River from the confluence of Manns Creek to Teays Landing as listed in subsection 13.1.1 of this rule shall be restricted to nine customers per day per license and the outfitter must have a ratio of one outfitter trip guide per three customers. These type of outfitter trips are not permitted in this section of the New River on Saturdays between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

13.6. Outfitter Equipment.

13.6.1. An outfitter shall provide to each passenger to be transported in a watercraft by the outfitter a readily accessible vest-type personal flotation device of an appropriate design and fit for each activity and person as defined and approved by the United States Coast Guard pursuant to 33 C.F.R. § 175.13 2014et seq. as authorized by 46 U.S.C. § 4302. However, while underway any child under the age of 13 must wear a securely fastened vest-type personal flotation device of an appropriate design and fit for each activity type and person as defined and approved by the United States Coast Guard pursuant to 33 C.F.R. § 175.13 2014 et seq. as authorized by 46 U.S.C. § 4302.

13.6.2. The minimum raft size that may be used on any river section listed under section 13.1 of this rule is an eight foot, two compartmentalized raft. The size of raft shall be measured from the outside tube surface in the bow to the outside tube surface in the stern when fully inflated, plus or minus six inches.

13.6.3. Gauley River. At flows more than 1,000 cubic feet per second between Summersville Dam and Sweet's Falls, the minimum watercraft size shall be a 12 foot, four compartmentalized watercraft.

13.6.4. Every outfitter trip shall be equipped with the following:

13.6.4.a. At least one first aid kit per trip.

13.6.4.b. At the beginning of each trip, each outfitter trip guide shall possess at least one throw line or throw bag not less than 40 feet in length.

13.6.4.c. All watercraft used by an outfitter shall be marked with its name, initials, or an easily recognizable logo, and shall be plainly visible and legible from 100 feet.

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