Chapter 12.40
WATERCRAFT AND FLOATING HOMES

Sections:

12.40.010    Jurisdiction and authorization.

12.40.020    State statutes adopted.

12.40.030    Federal statutes and regulations adopted.

12.40.040    Canadian vessels.

12.40.050    Littering.

12.40.060    Uniform speed limit – Restricted areas – Exceptions – Water skiing – Penalties.

12.40.065    Repealed.

12.40.070    Repealed.

12.40.080    Resident anchor-out live-aboard vessels.

12.40.100    Impoundment.

12.40.110    Creation and foreclosure of lien.

12.40.120    Impound hearing.

12.40.010 Jurisdiction and authorization.

The city, in the exercise of its police power, assumes power and jurisdiction over all waters within its limits, as authorized by statute, including but not limited to RCW 35A.21.090 and 35.21.160. Pursuant to RCW 35.21.160, the power and jurisdiction of the city is extended into and over the waters of Puget Sound to the middle of the Puget Sound and into and over any bays adjacent to or fronting the city, in every manner and for every purpose that such power and jurisdiction could be exercised if the waters were within the city limits. For the purpose of this chapter, “waters of the city” means the waters over which the city assumes power and jurisdiction. (Ord. 94-12 § 1, 1994)

12.40.020 State statutes adopted.

The following state statutes are adopted by reference:

A. RCW 7.84.010 (decriminalization) and 7.84.020 (infraction defined);

B. Chapter 88.02 RCW (watercraft registration);

C. Chapter 88.12 RCW (regulation of motorboats) except the last sentence of RCW 88.12.055, which is amended to read as follows:

In the exercise of this responsibility, all such officers, having reasonable and articulable suspicion of criminal activity or a violation of this chapter, may stop and board any vessel and direct it to a suitable pier or anchorage if necessary, to investigate the suspected criminal activity or violation or to conduct reasonable safety inspections otherwise authorized by law; and

D. RCW 88.28.050 (obstructing navigation).

E. RCW 79A.60.040 (operating a vessel in a reckless manner or under the influence of intoxicating liquor, marijuana, or any drug). (Ord. 2016-18 § 1, 2016; Ord. 94-12 § 1, 1994)

12.40.030 Federal statutes and regulations adopted.

The following acts of Congress and implementing regulations are adopted by reference:

A. 33 Code of Federal Regulations, Appendix A to Part 81-72 COLREGS and 33 Code of Federal Regulations, Part 82-72 (rules of the road);

B. 33 Code of Federal Regulations, 175.105, 175.110, 175.113, 175.120, 175.128, 175.130 and 175.140 (visual distress signals); and

C. 46 Code of Federal Regulations, 25.30 (fire extinguishing equipment). (Ord. 94-12 § 1, 1994)

12.40.040 Canadian vessels.

When used on the waters of the city for a period of less than 60 days in any one calendar year, all Canadian vessels which comply with the boating safety laws of the government of Canada shall be exempted from BIMC 12.40.020.B and 12.40.030. (Ord. 94-12 § 1, 1994)

12.40.050 Littering.

It shall be unlawful for any person to dump, throw, discharge, pump, or otherwise deposit junk, oil, trash, garbage, refuse, ballast or other waste of any kind on or into the waters of the city. This section shall also be applicable to persons owning, using or occupying floating homes. For purpose of this section, “floating home” means a building on a float used in whole or in part for human habitation as a dwelling, which is moored, anchored or otherwise secured in the waters of the city. (Ord. 94-12 § 1, 1994)

12.40.060 Uniform speed limit – Restricted areas – Exceptions – Water skiing – Penalties.

A. Except as permitted in subsection C of this section, it is unlawful for any person to operate a watercraft at a speed sufficient to create a wake or in excess of five nautical miles per hour, whichever is less, within the restricted areas identified in subsection B of this section, or within 150 feet of any shoreline, dock, breakwater, or nonmotorized boating class, group, or event.

B. Restricted Areas.

1. Priority aquatic Category A areas pursuant to BIMC 16.12.020.C.2 or future amendments thereto. Uses within priority aquatic Category A areas are also regulated by the shoreline master program (Chapter 16.12 BIMC).

2. Eagle Harbor extending west from a line that runs from the Eagle Harbor Ferry Terminal to USCG buoy No. 5 and Bill Point.

3. Port Madison Bay extending out to one-fourth mile north of the port community dock.

4. Manzanita Bay extending south of latitude 47 degrees 40.200 minutes north.

C. Exceptions.

1. Emergencies. Police, fire, Coast Guard, or other official vessels responding to an emergency may exceed the uniform speed limit identified in subsection A of this section.

2. Human Powered Watercraft. Watercraft propelled by only human power may exceed the uniform speed limit identified in subsection A of this section; provided they are not operated in a negligent or reckless manner.

3. Wakeless Support Vessels. Except in aquatic conservancy areas restricted under subsection B.1 of this section, wakeless motorized vessels in direct support of human powered watercraft may exceed the uniform speed limit identified in subsection A of this section; provided:

a. Wakeless motorized vessels providing support must be clearly marked as a support and/or rescue vessel and include the name or seal of the organization providing support;

b. Wakeless motorized vessels, when exceeding the speed limit, must do so only within obvious proximity to or in pursuit of human powered vessel(s) being supported; and

c. In no event shall a wakeless motorized vessel be operated in a negligent or reckless manner.

D. Water Skiing. Any watercraft towing a person on water skis or other similar device shall carry at least two occupants, one driver and one observer; use an orange warning flag any time a person is in the water; comply with speed limits in accordance with subsection A of this section; maintain the operational distance of 150 feet as specified in subsection A of this section, except when beginning or ending a water skiing run, and abide by all other local, state and federal regulations pertaining to watercraft.

E. Penalties. Violation of this section shall be a civil infraction punishable by a fine of up to $250.00 for each violation. (Ord. 2006-15 § 1, 2006: Ord. 2002-23 § 1, 2002: Ord. 98-39 § 2, 1999; Ord. 95-31 §§ 1 – 5, 1995; Ord. 94-12 § 1, 1994)

12.40.065 Speed limit – Port Madison.

Repealed by Ord. 2002-23. (Ord. 98-39 § 1, 1999)

12.40.070 Penalties.

Repealed by Ord. 99-24. (Ord. 94-12 § 1, 1994)

12.40.080 Resident anchor-out live-aboard vessels.

A. For the purposes of this section, “resident anchor-out live-aboard vessel” (“live-aboard vessel”) means (1) a vessel licensed, if applicable, and designed for use as a mobile structure, with adequate self-propulsion and steering equipment to be operated as a vessel, but which is principally used as an over-water residence; or (2) floats and barges used as residences that were present in city waters on September 7, 1998. Principal use as an over-water residence means essentially full-time occupancy within the city’s jurisdiction for a total of more than 60 days, whether or not consecutive, in any calendar year.

B. Notwithstanding any other provision in this section, the registration, renewal of registration and location requirements of subsections C through I of this section shall not apply to live-aboard vessels that are properly moored or anchored in any private marina.

C. Those live-aboard vessels which were present in city waters on September 7, 1998, or were registered with the city on or before September 7, 1998, shall be permitted to remain in Eagle Harbor pursuant to the conditions and regulations provided by this chapter; provided, that nothing in this chapter shall be construed as limiting, usurping or prejudicing the Washington State Department of Natural Resources’ ownership rights in the bedlands of Eagle Harbor or the department’s ability to enforce these rights against the otherwise permitted live-aboard vessels in Eagle Harbor; and provided further, that live-aboard vessels which are permitted to remain in Eagle Harbor pursuant to this chapter shall be subject to any further terms and conditions imposed upon the vessels by the city pursuant to any leasehold interest in the Eagle Harbor bedlands that the city may acquire from the Washington State Department of Natural Resources subsequent to the effective date of the ordinance codified in this section. Except as provided by subsection H of this section, an owner of a live-aboard vessel which was not present in city waters on September 7, 1998, or registered with the city as of September 7, 1998, must immediately remove the live-aboard vessel from the waters within the city’s jurisdiction.

D. Those live-aboard vessels which are permitted to remain within the city’s jurisdiction pursuant to this chapter may anchor or moor only in Eagle Harbor and only at the location or locations designated by the city, as provided in this section. The general anchorage location of permitted live-aboard vessels within Eagle Harbor shall be determined by the city council upon recommendation of the harbor commission. The specific anchorage location of each individual live-aboard vessel shall be determined by the city manager. The designated anchorage location or locations shall be limited to an area or areas where the presence of the live-aboard vessels shall not compromise the public’s interest in water-dependent navigation, commerce, environmental quality and other related considerations.

Until such time as the city designates the general and specific anchorage locations within Eagle Harbor pursuant to this section, the live-aboard vessels permitted to remain in Eagle Harbor pursuant to this chapter shall remain in the location they occupied as of the passage date of the ordinance codified in this section; provided, that any live-aboard vessels which are not located within Eagle Harbor as of the passage date of the ordinance codified in this section shall move to a location within Eagle Harbor, as designated by the city manager.

Upon the city’s designation of the general and specific anchorage locations of the permitted live-aboard vessels, each owner of a live-aboard vessel shall move the owner’s live-aboard vessel to the designated anchorage location within one month of the designation and shall not be permitted to moor or anchor the live-aboard vessel in any other area within Eagle Harbor.

E. The city manager or the city manager’s designee shall maintain a registration log of those live-aboard vessels permitted to remain within Eagle Harbor pursuant to this chapter. The city’s registration log of permitted live-aboard vessels shall annually be renewed by the city clerk during the month of January. At the time of the annual registration update, owners of permitted live-aboard vessels shall pay a registration renewal fee as established by resolution. The registration renewal fee shall be in addition to any lease payment or permit or licensing fee imposed by the state or the city.

F. An owner of a permitted live-aboard vessel who removes the live-aboard vessel from Eagle Harbor for a period longer than 130 consecutive days, as determined by the chief of police or designee, shall forfeit the live-aboard vessel registration privileges under this section; provided, that vessels used for commercial fishing may be absent for a period of 150 consecutive days without forfeiture. Exceptions for absences supported by good cause, including, but not limited to, emergency rebuilds, may be allowed by the city manager or designee in the city manager’s or designee’s discretion.

G. The registration privileges provided by this section are nontransferable and may not be assigned, conveyed or otherwise transferred to another person.

H. The owner of any live-aboard vessel that is not permitted to remain in Eagle Harbor pursuant to subsection C of this section may apply to the city clerk for live-aboard vessel registration privileges. The city clerk shall maintain a waiting list for those additional live-aboard vessels, and any registration privileges issued after the effective date of the ordinance codified in this section shall be on a first-come, first-served basis. No additional live-aboard vessels shall be permitted to register with the city, or to moor or anchor in Eagle Harbor, unless and until the future number and permitted location of the live-aboard vessels in Eagle Harbor have been determined by the city council.

I. No more than one access float and two dinghies or skiffs per live-aboard vessel shall be permitted. Ownership of the dinghies and skiffs shall be clearly identified; unidentified dinghies and skiffs shall be impounded. The total surface water coverage for a live-aboard vessel and accompanying float and dinghies or skiffs shall not exceed 1,000 square feet.

J. No owner, operator or occupant of any live-aboard vessel shall discharge sewage or dump garbage into the water. All sewage generated upon any live-aboard vessel shall be properly disposed of at a suitable upland sewage facility.

K. Unless otherwise provided by statute, regulation or ordinance, a violation of any provision of this chapter shall constitute a civil infraction punishable by a civil fine not to exceed $250.00, which shall be enforced as provided in Chapter 1.26 BIMC.

Failure to comply with the provisions of this chapter shall also constitute grounds for the revocation of the live-aboard vessel registration privileges. A notice of revocation of the live-aboard vessel registration privileges shall be in writing, and shall be served upon the owner or operator of the live-aboard vessel by personal delivery or by certified mail, return receipt requested. Any revocation of live-aboard vessel registration privileges may be appealed to the hearing examiner by the owner or operator of the affected live-aboard vessel by filing a written notice of appeal with the city clerk within 15 days after the notice of revocation is served upon the owner or operator. For the purposes of this section, service of the notice of revocation shall be deemed to have been effectuated on the date of personal delivery or three days after the notice is placed in the mail. (Ord. 2009-21 § 36, 2009: Ord. 99-24 § 1, 1999: Ord. 98-08 § 1, 1998; Ord. 96-39 §§ 1, 2, 3, 6, 1997)

12.40.100 Impoundment.

A. The city and its local law enforcement officials may take immediate possession of and impound any vessel or watercraft located in any waters within the city’s jurisdiction when:

1. The operator or owner of the vessel or watercraft is incapable of safely operating the vessel or watercraft or is incapable of directing the disposition of the vessel or watercraft;

2. The operator or owner of the vessel or watercraft refuses to sign a citation or notice of civil infraction, or refuses or neglects to obey an order of any local law enforcement official to proceed from or to an area following a citation or civil infraction or in an emergency;

3. The operator or owner operates the vessel or watercraft in a negligent, reckless or other manner so as to endanger the safety of others or to unreasonably interfere with the navigation of other watercraft and vessels, and the local law enforcement official believes such operation of the vessel or watercraft would continue unless the vessel or watercraft is impounded;

4. The vessel or watercraft in operation is unsafe for water transportation;

5. The vessel or watercraft is obstructing a launch area, ferry dock or public dock, or is trespassing or blocking ingress and egress on private property;

6. The vessel or watercraft has remained at a city dock or linear moorage for one hour longer than the maximum mooring or anchoring time, or is otherwise moored or anchored in violation of BIMC 12.24.050.B; provided, the city shall post signs in a conspicuous manner on or near the city dock and linear moorage which notify the public that vessels anchored or moored in violation of the city’s dock or moorage requirements shall be removed or impounded by the city; or

7. An unattended vessel or watercraft is a navigational hazard or threat to public safety, or must otherwise be impounded or removed in response to an emergency situation.

B. The city and its local law enforcement officials may take possession of or impound a vessel or watercraft located in any waters within the city’s jurisdiction upon 10 days’ notice to the owner of the vessel or watercraft when the vessel or watercraft is abandoned, or is moored or anchored in the park harbor for one hour longer than the maximum mooring or anchoring time, in violation of BIMC 12.24.050.A. For the purposes of this subsection, a vessel or watercraft that is left unattended for more than 30 consecutive days shall be deemed abandoned.

If a vessel or watercraft is to be impounded pursuant to this subsection, the city or its local law enforcement officials shall notify the owner of the vessel or watercraft of the pending impound by posting a notice in a conspicuous manner upon the vessel or watercraft and also by mailing the notice, via U.S. certified mail, return receipt requested, to the registered owner of the vessel or watercraft at the owner’s last known address. The notice shall contain the following information:

1. The date and time the notice was attached;

2. The identity of the city official attaching the notice;

3. The nature of the violation for which the vessel or watercraft is subject to removal or impound by the city;

4. A statement that if the vessel or watercraft is not removed within 10 days from the date and time the notice is attached, the vessel or watercraft may be removed or impounded and stored at the owner’s expense, and that such expense will constitute a lien on the vessel or watercraft; and

5. The address and telephone number where additional information may be obtained.

Upon the failure, neglect or of any owner to remove the owner’s vessel or watercraft within 10 days after the date the notice was posted and placed in the U.S. mail as provided by this subsection, the city and its local law enforcement officials shall be authorized to remove or impound the vessel or watercraft in the manner provided by this section.

C. In lieu of removing or towing a vessel or watercraft pursuant to this section, the city and its local law enforcement officials may impound any vessel or watercraft in place by posting one or more signs or notices in conspicuous places on the vessel or watercraft that read: “POLICE IMPOUND – KEEP OFF.” Upon the posting of au impound notice, it shall be unlawful for any person:

1. To move, load, unload, rebuild or enter upon such vessel or watercraft without written permission from the city, other than for necessary maintenance and repair to prevent the deterioration or sinking of the vessel or watercraft; or

2. To remove, mutilate destroy or conceal any notice or sign posted by the city pursuant to this section.

The city and its local law enforcement officials, in their discretion, may appoint the owner or operator of the facility or property at which the vessel or watercraft is moored or anchored as custodian of the impounded vessel or watercraft.

D. At the time of the impound of a vessel or watercraft pursuant to subsections A through C of this section, the city or its local law enforcement officials shall provide the owner or operator of the vessel or watercraft written notice of the impound. If the owner or operator is not present, the notice shall be mailed, via certified mail, return receipt requested, to the registered owner of the vessel or watercraft at the owner’s last known address. Such notice shall state the date and time of the impound, the identity of the city official impounding the vessel or watercraft, the nature of the violation for which the vessel or watercraft was impounded, information on how and where to redeem the impounded vessel or watercraft, the owner’s right to a hearing on the impound pursuant to Chapter 12.40 BIMC, a hearing request form, and the address and telephone number where additional information may be obtained.

E. The city and its local law enforcement official shall have the authority to remove or tow any vessel or watercraft pursuant to this section by using such methods necessary to prevent unnecessary damage to the vessel or watercraft. Alternatively, the city and its local law enforcement officials may assign the removal and impound of the vessel or watercraft to a private corporation.

F. The city shall not be responsible for damages incurred as a result of the impoundment of a vessel or watercraft.

G. Notwithstanding any other provisions of this chapter, this section shall not apply to resident anchor-out live-aboard vessels. (Ord. 98-47 § 1, 1998)

12.40.110 Creation and foreclosure of lien.

A. The expenses incurred by the city in removing, impounding and mooring any vessel or watercraft pursuant to this chapter shall be borne by the owner of the vessel or watercraft. When a vessel or watercraft is moored or impounded at a city facility, the city shall assess a reasonable moorage charge established by resolution. The expenses incurred by the city in removing, impounding and mooring the vessel or watercraft, and the city’s moorage charge, if applicable, shall constitute a lien against the vessel or watercraft and shall be paid in full by the owner of the vessel or watercraft prior to the city’s release of the vessel or watercraft.

B. If an impounded vessel or watercraft is not redeemed within 60 days after the date of impoundment, the lien upon the vessel or watercraft arising under this chapter may be foreclosed by the city pursuant to Chapter 60.10 RCW.

C. Funds received from the sale of a vessel or watercraft pursuant to this section shall be applied towards payment of the costs and fees incurred by the city in removing, impounding and mooring the vessel or watercraft, to the city’s moorage charges, if applicable, and to the costs of foreclosure, including reasonable attorney’s fees. The city may maintain an action against the owner of the vessel or watercraft to recover the expense of removing, impounding and mooring the vessel or watercraft, the city’s moorage charge, and the costs of foreclosure of the lien, if not fully satisfied by the sale of the vessel or watercraft.

D. Any remaining proceeds from the foreclosure sale of a vessel or watercraft shall be remitted to the owner of the vessel or watercraft, if known. If the city is unable to locate the owner of the vessel or watercraft, the remainder of the proceeds from the sale shall be retained by the city for six months, and shall be released to the owner upon sufficient proof of ownership. If the six-month period expires without the owner of the vessel or watercraft claiming the remainder of the proceeds from the sale, the funds shall be deposited into the general fund of the city. (Ord. 98-47 § 2, 1998)

12.40.120 Impound hearing.

A. Any owner of a vessel or watercraft that has been impounded pursuant to this chapter may request an impound hearing in the Bainbridge Island municipal court to contest the propriety of the impound and the amount of the impound and storage fees.

B. Any request for an impound hearing pursuant to this section shall be made in writing on the form provided by the city, and must be received by the municipal court within 21 days of the date that the notice of the right to a hearing, was provided to the person seeking to challenge the impound or amount of the impound and storage fees. If the impound hearing request is not received by the municipal court within the 21-day period, the right to a hearing is waived and the owner of the vessel or watercraft is liable for any removal, storage or impound charges permitted by this chapter. Upon receipt of a timely request for an impound hearing, the municipal court shall proceed to hear and determine the propriety of the impound.

C. The municipal court, within five days after it receives a request for an impound hearing, shall notify the person requesting the hearing and the city in writing of the hearing date and time.

D. At the hearing, the person or persons requesting the hearing may produce any relevant evidence to show that the removal, impound, or storage fees charged were not proper. The city has the burden of proving a valid impound and reasonable fees by a preponderance of the evidence.

E. At the conclusion of the hearing, the municipal court shall determine whether the impound was proper, whether the removal, impound or storage fees charged were proper, and who is responsible for the payment of the fees.

F. If the impound is found proper, the removal, impound and storage fees as permitted under this chapter together with court costs may be assessed against the person or persons requesting the hearing

G. If the impound is found to be in violation of this code, then the owner of the impounded vessel or watercraft shall not be responsible for any removal, impound or storage fees, and any security shall be returned or discharged as appropriate, and the person or agency who authorized the impound shall be liable for any removal, storage or other impoundment fees permitted under this chapter. (Ord. 98-47 § 3, 1998)