SB 5427



BYSenators Kreidler, Talmadge and Williams



Providing funding for recreational boating safety.



Senate Committee on Environment & Natural Resources


      Senate Hearing Date(s):February 1, 1989


      Senate Staff:Gary Wilburn (786-7453)



                            AS OF JANUARY 31, 1989




Pollutants entering state waters from boats and marinas have been identified as a significant source of nonpoint pollution.  In 1985 the Department of Ecology estimated that throughout Puget Sound the contribution of sewage from recreational boats was equivalent to that from a city of 100,000 discharging primary treated sewage.  Some studies have shown that watercraft concentrated in marinas or coves or bays for several days can have noticeable short-term effects on the number of bacteria in the aquatic environment.  Sewage discharges from boats in small bays of Puget Sound may cause problems due to large concentrations of boats with overnight moorage, smaller water volumes to dilute the wastes, and the shellfishing which takes place in such shallow waters.


It is estimated that only about 10 percent of registered vessels are equipped with installed toilets.  Many others have portable toilets which do not discharge overboard unless dumped over the side.  The great majority of boats that are equipped with sanitation devices require access to pumpout facilities.  At the direction of the Puget Sound Water Quality Authority, a Boater's Taskforce was formed in 1987 consisting of state agencies, boating groups and others to explore the need for pumpout facilities at existing and new moorage facilities on Puget Sound.  The Taskforce was also to design an education program to encourage proper waste disposal by recreational boaters.


Washington currently has a boating accident fatality rate that is more than double the national average.  The State Parks and Recreation Commission administers a boating safety education program.  In 1987 the Legislature directed the State Parks and Recreation Commission to review state boating safety efforts, in light of the high numbers of boating accidents on Washington waters.  State Parks, working with the Boater's Taskforce, have identified additional educational measures which may decrease such accidents.




The State Parks and Recreations Commission is to review existing literature and studies regarding polluted and environmentally sensitive waters in the state.  Marinas located in such areas, or marinas with 125 or more slips where pumpout facilities are not located within a reasonable distance, may be designated as appropriate for state funding support for the installation of sewage pumpouts or dump stations.  Other marinas may also be designated based upon specified criteria.


Funding for installation of pumpout or dump station facilities shall be provided to marinas through contracts with the commission.  Contracts may be awarded to publicly owned, tribal, or privately owned marinas.  Eligible costs for reimbursement include purchase, installation, major renovation, utility connections, necessary pier or dock space, or other costs determined by the commission.  Ownership is to be retained by the state in private marinas, and by the administering local public entity with respect to public marinas.


Facilities installed must be accessible for public use free of charge for at least a ten-year period.  The applicant must also agree to pay a fee for periodic inspection by the local health department, and to encourage public use of the pumpout facilities.  The Department of Ecology is to develop criteria for design, installation and operation of the facilities.


The commission is to conduct a statewide boater educational program regarding proper waste disposal methods.  Grants are to be awarded to local governments for boater environmental education or boat waste management planning.


Provisions for refund of marine fuel taxes are repealed.  The director of Licensing is to periodically determine the portion of the motor vehicle fund amounts which are a tax on marine fuel, and such funds shall be transferred no less than annually to the marine fuel tax account.  Ninety percent of that account is to be distributed to the outdoor recreation account, and the remainder to the boater recreational fee account which is created in the state treasury.


The boater recreational fee account is to fund a grant program for the following purposes:  (1) Sewage pumpouts or dump station installation (50 percent); (2) grants to state and local agencies for enforcement and boating safety (20 percent); (3) grants to public schools, public entities or other nonprofit community organizations for boating safety and environmental education programs (15 percent); (4) commission's boating safety and environmental education programs (15 percent).


Fisheries patrol officers are authorized to enforce boating safety and registration laws and rules.  The Fisheries Department is to report by January 1, 1992 on enforcement activities under this provision.


Appropriation:    unspecified


Revenue:    yes


Fiscal Note:      requested January 26, 1989