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MSC #98-22
September 8, 1998

TO: All Watercraft Manufacturers
  All Other Interested Parties
DATE: September 8, 1998
Dear Sir/Madam:
As a follow-up to the Air Resources Board's (ARB) July 9, 1998 Watercraft workshop, ARB staff intended to circulate a draft staff report for comments. This will not be possible because staff has significantly revised its watercraft rule proposal. The revised proposal responds to concerns raised at the workshop and in subsequent meetings and more closely harmonizes our regulatory program with the United States Environmental Protection Agency's (U.S. EPA) program. The following is a brief outline of staff's current regulatory proposal. Please note, the purpose of this letter is to provide early stakeholder notification of the modifications staff is recommending as of this date. It is not meant to be a complete staff report, nor contain any in-depth information on the expected emission reductions, cost-effectiveness or other economic impacts of this regulation. These issues will be addressed in their entirety in the staff report, currently scheduled for an October 27, 1998 release date.
Exhaust Emission Standards -
The standards listed below would apply to all outboard motors and personal watercraft engines regardless of the horsepower rating. These standards represent in-use standards based on EPA's time periods of 10 years/350 hours for outboard engines and 5 years/350 hours for personal watercraft and are based on a corporate average which allows flexibility for the manufacturers to gradually phase-in the newer technology engines while retaining adequate product availability.

Exhaust Emission Standards

Model Year

Emission Standard


EPA's 2006 Curve


80 percent of EPA's 2006 Curve


50 percent of EPA's 2006 Curve

Engine Identification Number -
Staff's original proposal included the requirement for a standardized VIN/HIN for all watercraft. This number was to be used for purposes of tracking and ensuring California certified products were being purchased for use in our State. Due to concerns regarding the logistics and cost of such a program, this requirement has been omitted. However, during implementation the ARB will be closely monitoring the necessity of a VIN/HIN number, and may consider such a proposal in future rulemaking.
Assembly Line Testing, In-Use Testing, and Recall Provisions -
The ARB will propose assembly line testing, in-use testing and recall provisions which closely mirror the program adopted by EPA. Where possible, the ARB will accept data generated in response to EPA's program. However, for those engines which are California-specific, staff will propose testing according to the same protocol as federally certified engines.
Emissions Warranty -
Staff's new proposal reflects a defects warranty period of 4 years/250 hours. This time period maintains the concept that manufacturers should warrant the emissions control components of the engine for the consumer for a significant portion of its useful life. By adjusting this time period, staff believes we will encourage a faster introduction of the cleaner burning technologies which remains our ultimate goal.
Labeling -
Staff is now recommending a 3-tier environmental labeling program. This label program is a market driven approach which we believe will provide consumers with a choice with respect to the environmental cleanliness of the available products. The three tiers will be based on the levels established for the 2001, 2004, and 2007 emission standards. Staff will also be eliminating the requirement for a smog index and fuel economy labels.
These labels will be replaced with a removable hang-tag which will explain the environmental labeling program. The exact content and physical characteristics of these labels will be addressed in upcoming environmental labeling working groups.
Due to the dynamic nature of this regulatory proposal's development, I would like to encourage all parties to remain in close contact with ARB staff. If there are any questions or comments regarding the changes outlined in this letter, please contact Mr. Charles Emmett at (626) 450-6107 or Ms. Analisa Bevan at (916) 323-8966. Thank you for your continued interest in this rulemaking.

Robert H. Cross, Chief
Mobile Source Control Division

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