SB 5918

This analysis was prepared by non-partisan legislative staff for the use of legislative members in their deliberations. This analysis is not a part of the legislation nor does it constitute a statement of legislative intent.

C 293 L 19

Synopsis as Enacted

Brief Description: Providing whale watching guidelines in the boating safety education program.

Sponsors: Senators Lovelett, Warnick, Van De Wege, Conway, Hasegawa, Hobbs, King, Wilson, C., Randall, Nguyen, Dhingra, Frockt, Hawkins, Billig, Das, Hunt, Darneille, Wagoner and Palumbo.

Senate Committee on Agriculture, Water, Natural Resources & Parks

Senate Committee on Ways & Means

House Committee on Rural Development, Agriculture, & Natural Resources

House Committee on Appropriations

Background: Boating Safety Education Program. The State Parks and Recreation Commission (Commission) must, among other things, adopt and enforce recreational boating safety rules, including equipment and navigating requirements, consistent with U.S. Coast Guard regulations. Additionally, the Commission must coordinate a statewide boating safety education program. The program includes a minimum standard of boating safety education accomplishment, minimum standards for boating safety course of instruction and examination, and accreditation to boating safety education courses operated by entities such as the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and the U.S. Power Squadrons. Additionally, an equivalency exam may be taken as an alternative to the boating safety education course.In order to operate a motor driven boat or vessel of 15 horsepower or greater, a person must be at least twelve years old and possess a boater education card; or be accompanied by and under the supervision of a person at least sixteen years old who has a boater education card.Certain individuals are not required to have a boater education card, including:

Southern Resident Killer Whale Task Force. The Governor issued an executive order in 2018 convening the Southern Resident Killer Whale Task Force (Task Force). The Task Force was directed to identify, prioritize, and support implementing a plan to address three threats to southern resident orca whales identified in the following order: (1) prey availability; (2) contaminants; and (3) disturbance from vessel noise. The Task Force, in its November 2018 report, recommended that additional education should be provided to commercial and recreational boaters.

Summary: The Boating Safety Education Program must include educational materials on whale watching guidelines and other voluntary and regulatory measures related to whale watching.

Votes on Final Passage:







(House amended)




(Senate concurred)


July 28, 2019