(a) System Requirements.—
(1) Subject to paragraph (2), the following vessels, while operating on the navigable waters of the United States, shall be equipped with and operate an automatic identification system under regulations prescribed by the Secretary:
A vessel carrying more than a number of passengers for hire determined by the Secretary.
Any other vessel for which the Secretary decides that an automatic identification system is necessary for the safe navigation of the vessel.
(2) The Secretary may—
exempt a vessel from paragraph (1) if the Secretary finds that an automatic identification system is not necessary for the safe navigation of the vessel on the waters on which the vessel operates; and
The Secretary shall prescribe regulations implementing subsection (a), including requirements for the operation and maintenance of the automatic identification systems required under subsection (a).