(a) In order that responsible State and local officials may consult with an advisory body as to the needs and desires of the public in matters of water recreation and safety in various local waters, local authorities may sponsor local water safety committees. When a local government or two or more local governments acting jointly determine that the interests of the public would be served by sponsorship of a local water safety committee, such local government or governments may sponsor a committee. As used in this section, the noun "sponsor" shall include a sponsoring local government or a sponsoring group of local governments acting jointly.
(b) Members of a local committee shall be selected by the sponsor to represent various viewpoints and interests respecting water recreation and safety in the locality concerned. The membership of the committee shall be not less than 15 nor more than 35, and members shall serve at the pleasure of the sponsor. Except where the charter granted by the sponsor may make specific provision, the members of a local committee shall select their officers, determine the need for subcommittees (if any), provide for times and places of regular meetings, and otherwise order the internal organization and administration of the committee. Special meetings may be held:
(1) Upon the call of such officers or members of the local committee as may be specified in the charter from the sponsor or the bylaws enacted by the committee.
(2) Upon the call of three members of the governing body or bodies of the sponsor.
(3) Upon the call of the chairman of the North Carolina Water Safety Committee.
(c) Where the sponsor finds that an existing organization or committee is sufficiently broadly based to represent the various community interests, it may sponsor (and at any time withdraw sponsorship of) the activities of such organization or committee relating to water recreation and safety in lieu of creating a separate local committee. In the event an existing organization or committee is sponsored, the membership restrictions of subsection (b) do not apply. The phrase "local committee" as used in this section shall include such sponsored existing organizations and committees as well as separate committees.
(d) Except as indicated below, members of a local committee shall serve without compensation from the sponsor. Public officers and employees who are acting within the scope and course of their employment, however, may receive such travel and subsistence allowance as authorized by law when attending meetings, whether as members or observers, or otherwise assisting or participating in the affairs of a local committee. Within the bounds set by governing provisions of the law generally, a sponsor may also provide administrative and staff services to a local committee and may underwrite or finance its projects which are carried out to the benefit of water recreation and safety in the area concerned.
(e) At the time of sponsorship, or withdrawal of sponsorship, of a local committee, the sponsor shall notify the following persons of the action taken:
(1) The chairman of the North Carolina Water Safety Committee.
(2) The Executive Director of the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission.
(f) All meetings of separately created local committees shall be open to the public. Where an existing organization or committee has received sponsorship, all its meetings devoted to carrying out the advisory functions of a local committee shall be open to the public.
(g) Members of a local committee are under an obligation:
(1) To keep themselves informed as to problems of water recreation and safety in their area.
(2) To study such problems concerning water recreation and safety as may be referred to them by their sponsor or by the chairman of the North Carolina Water Safety Committee.
(3) To make reports from time to time, either on their own motion or in response to a request for a study, on problems of water recreation and safety, and with suggestions for remedies where such are indicated and feasible. Such reports may be made to the sponsor, the chairman of the North Carolina Water Safety Committee, the Executive Director of the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, or any other public or private person, agency, firm, corporation, or organization with the power to effect improvements in the level of water recreation and safety available to the public.
(4) To take part in and, where necessary, to help coordinate programs of public education in the field of water safety. (1969, c. 1093, s. 3.)