Sec. 58-12-9 - Commercial Whitewater Operations

§ 58-12-9. Commercial Whitewater Operations

9.1. Towing rafts through water pools is permitted.

9.2. Motorized watercraft are permitted on the New River between Thurmond and Fayette Station when river flow equals or exceeds 16,500 cubic feet per second as determined by the U.S. Geological Survey Thurmond gauge.

9.3. The director may issue special use permits to commercial whitewater outfitters for the use of motorized watercraft to provide whitewater trips to senior citizens, disabled persons, and other persons who might not otherwise be able to participate in whitewater recreation. The director may also issue special use permits to commercial whitewater outfitters to conduct whitewater trips to make documentary recordings or to provide emergency transport services.

9.4. Motorized watercraft shall not pass non-motorized trips unless signaled to do so by the trip leader of the non-motorized watercraft. The non-motorized watercraft shall make all reasonable efforts to facilitate passing of the motorized watercraft.

9.5. While underway, each passenger, guide trainee, commercial watercraft clinic instructor, trip guide, and trip leader shall 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 section 10.1 of this rule. The commercial whitewater outfitter shall maintain all personal flotation devices in a good and serviceable condition.

9.6. Each commercial whitewater expedition shall have a minimum of one trip guide for every 10 passengers or any portion thereof. There shall be a minimum of two trip guides on each commercial whitewater expedition of more than six watercraft.

9.7. There shall be no less than one trip guide on a commercial whitewater expedition on rivers or sections of rivers, unless otherwise designated in section 9.12 or section 14 of this rule. Section 14 requirements shall only apply to rented watercraft on sections specifically permitting rental watercraft which are listed in section 14.

9.8. A commercial whitewater outfitter may run his or her whitewater expedition in conjunction with another commercial whitewater outfitter's whitewater expedition to fulfill the requirements of this section.

9.9. There shall be one commercial whitewater trip leader on each commercial whitewater expedition.

9.10. A trip leader may count as a trip guide to meet the requirements of this section.

9.11. Each commercial watercraft clinic shall have a minimum of one trip guide for each six customers or any portion thereof.

9.12. The following rivers, portions of rivers, or waters of the State are designated as whitewater zones for rafting West Virginia's rivers, portions of rivers, or waters of the State to determine the appropriate watercraft, student limits and minimum number of guides per trip by whitewater zones:

9.12.1. Cheat River.

9.12.1.a. From its confluence with Saltlick Creek to the State Route 26 bridge at Albright there shall be a minimum of one trip guide per trip.

9.12.1.b. From the State Route 26 bridge at Albright to the confluence of Big Sandy Creek there shall be a minimum of two trip guides per trip. When river flows equal or exceed 2,200 cubic feet per second there shall also be a trip guide in every watercraft.

9.12.2. Gauley River from the Summersville Lake Dam to the bridge at Jodie there shall be a minimum of one trip guide in each watercraft and two guides per trip, except for inflatable kayaks and kayaks.

9.12.3. New River: From its confluence with the Greenbrier River to its confluence with the Gauley River:

9.12.3.a. From its confluence with the Greenbrier River to the confluence of Manns Creek there shall be a minimum of one trip guide per trip, except as provided in section 14 of this rule.

9.12.3.b. From the confluence of Manns Creek to Teays Landing there shall be a minimum of one trip guide in each watercraft, except on a commercial watercraft clinic where the instructor and guests are in separate watercraft. Commercial watercraft clinics may be held by a commercial whitewater outfitter. Daily use is restricted to nine students per day per license and the commercial whitewater outfitter must have a ratio of one trip guide per three students. Commercial watercraft clinics are not permitted in this section of the New River on Saturdays between Memorial Day and Labor Day. There shall be a minimum of two trip guides per trip on all other trips.

9.12.3.c. From Teays Landing to the Hawks Nest Dam there shall be a minimum of one trip guide per trip, or a commercial watercraft clinic instructor.

9.12.3.d. From the Hawks Nest Dam to its confluence with the Gauley River there shall be a minimum of two trip guides per trip.

9.12.4. Shenandoah River from Millville to its confluence with the Potomac River. There shall be a minimum of one trip guide per trip unless otherwise designated in section 14 of this rule. Section 14 requirements shall only apply to rented watercraft on those sections specifically permitting rental watercraft listed in section 14.

9.12.5. Tygart Valley River from the confluence of Mill Creek at Belington to the County Route 62 bridge at Colfax there shall be a minimum of two trip guides per trip.

9.13. No person shall carry a firearm in a watercraft during a commercial whitewater expedition.

9.14. No alcoholic liquor, nonintoxicating beer, nonintoxicating craft beer, wine, or controlled substances may be consumed while the watercraft is underway during a commercial whitewater expedition.

The following state regulations pages link to this page.