It shall be the duty of the Secretary of the Army to prescribe such regulations for the use, administration, and navigation of the navigable waters of the United States as in his judgment the public necessity may require for the protection of life and property, or of operations of the United States in channel improvement, covering all matters not specifically delegated by law to some other executive department. Such regulations shall be posted, in conspicuous and appropriate places, for the information of the public; and every person and every corporation which shall violate such regulations shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor and, on conviction thereof in any district court of the United States within whose territorial jurisdiction such offense may have been committed, shall be punished by a fine not exceeding $500, or by imprisonment (in the case of a natural person) not exceeding six months, in the discretion of the court.
Any regulations prescribed by the Secretary of the Army in pursuance of this section may be enforced as provided in section 413 of this title, the provisions whereof are made applicable to the said regulations.
(Aug. 18, 1894, ch. 299, §4, 28 Stat. 362; June 13, 1902, ch. 1079, §§6, 11, 32 Stat. 374; Aug. 8, 1917, ch. 49, §7, 40 Stat. 266; July 26, 1947, ch. 343, title II, §205(a), 61 Stat. 501.)
The first paragraph of this section is from section 4 of act Aug. 18, 1894, popularly known as the "River and Harbor Act of 1894", as amended.
As originally enacted, said section 4 made it the duty of the Secretary of War to prescribe rules and regulations for the use, administration, and navigation of any or all canals and similar works of navigation owned, operated, or maintained by the United States, and provided for the posting of such regulations and the punishment of violations thereof.
Said section 4 was amended by section 11 of act June 13, 1902, principally by adding to the original section provisions authorizing the Secretary also to prescribe regulations to govern the speed and movement of vessels and other water craft in any public navigable channel which had been improved under authority of Congress, whenever in his judgment such regulations were necessary to protect such improved channel from injury or to prevent interference with the operations of the United States in improving navigable waters or injury to any plant that might be employed in such operations.
Section 4 was also amended by section 7 of act Aug. 8, 1917, to read as set forth in the first paragraph hereof.
The last paragraph of this section is from section 6 of act June 13, 1902. Said section 6 is also the source of the last proviso in section 499 of this title.
Department of War designated Department of the Army and title of Secretary of War changed to Secretary of the Army by section 205(a) of act July 26, 1947, ch. 343, title II, 61 Stat. 501. Section 205(a) of act July 26, 1947, was repealed by section 53 of act Aug. 10, 1956, ch. 1041, 70A Stat. 641. Section 1 of act Aug. 10, 1956, enacted "Title 10, Armed Forces" which in sections 3010 to 3013 continued Department of the Army under administrative supervision of Secretary of the Army.
Administrative provisions covering definitions which the Coast Guard uses to examine waters to determine whether the Coast Guard has jurisdiction on those waters under particular laws of the United States are set out in chapter I, subchapter A, part 2, of Title 33, Navigation and Navigable Waters, in the Code of Federal Regulations. Such part 2, consisting of sections 2.01–1 to 2.10–10, sets out definitions of jurisdictional terms and provides for the availability of jurisdictional decisions.