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CHAPTER 9.56
VESSELS AND MOTORBOATS ON LAKES1

Sections:

9.56.010    Definitions

9.56.020    Federal regulations adopted

9.56.030    Use of vessel in negligent manner

9.56.040    Operating a watercraft or vessel while under the influence of alcohol or drugs

9.56.050    Permitting operation by incompetent person

9.56.060    Age limit

9.56.070    Overloading vessels

9.56.080    Overpowering boats

9.56.090    Mufflers

9.56.100    Speed limits--Generally

9.56.110    Speed limits--Hicks Lake

9.56.120    Observers

9.56.130    Personal flotation devices

9.56.140    Direction of operation

9.56.150    Repealed

9.56.160    Operation within marked areas

9.56.170    Right-of-way

9.56.180    Refuse

9.56.190    Skin diving

9.56.200    Fire extinguishers

9.56.210    Watercraft registration

9.56.215    Positioning of watercraft registration numbers and annual registration decal

9.56.220    Reporting accidents

9.56.224    Duty to obey enforcement officer--Authority of officer

9.56.226    Harassment of wildlife and waterfowl

9.56.228    Inspection for aquatic weeds and plant life

9.56.230    Violation--Penalty

 

9.56.010 Definitions.

As used in this chapter the following terms shall have the meanings ascribed to them by this section:

A.    “Motorboat” means any vessel propelled in any respect by machinery, including those temporarily equipped with detachable motors.

B.    “Observer” means the individual riding in a watercraft who shall be responsible for observing a water skier at all times. The observer and operator shall not be the same person.

C.    “Operator” means the individual in physical control of a watercraft.

D.    “Person” means any natural person, partnership, association or corporation.

E.    “Personal watercraft” means any watercraft of less than sixteen feet which utilizes a motorized water jet pump as the primary source of propulsion and which is designed to be operated by a person in a sitting, standing, or kneeling position.

F.    “Watercraft” or “vessel” means any contrivance used or capable of being used as a means of transportation on water, whether powered by engine, sail, motor, or occupant(s).

G.    “Waters” includes any lake, pond or other body of fresh water within the city. (Ord. 938 §2, 1992; Ord. 454 §1, 1977; Ord. 427 (part), 1976).

9.56.020 Federal regulations adopted.

All vessels and motorboats operated and used upon waters of lakes located within the city shall, in all respects, conform to the requirements of the United States Code, Title 46, Section 526, as amended, and the rules and regulations promulgated thereunder insofar as all lifesaving equipment, safety equipment, lighting equipment and all other equipment and devices therein specified. Three copies of such code and regulations are on file in the office of the city clerk. (Ord. 427 (part), 1976).

9.56.030 Use of vessel in negligent manner.

It shall be unlawful for any person to operate a watercraft or vessel in a negligent manner. For the purpose of this section, to “operate in a negligent manner” shall be construed to mean the operation of a watercraft or vessel in such manner as to endanger or be likely to endanger any persons or property. (Ord. 938, §3, 1992).

9.56.040 Operating a watercraft or vessel while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

It shall be unlawful for any person to operate a watercraft or vessel within the city while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug. A person is guilty of operating a vessel while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug if the person operates the vessel while:

A.    The person has one-tenth gram or more of alcohol per two hundred ten liters of breath, as shown by analysis of the person’s breath made under RCW 46.61.506; or

B.    The person has one-tenth percent or more by weight of alcohol in the person’s blood, as shown by analysis of the person’s blood made under RCW 46.61.506; or

C.    The person is under the influence of or affected by intoxicating liquor or any drug; or

D.    The person is under the combined influence of or affected by intoxicating liquor and any drug.

The fact that any person charged with a violation of this section is or has been entitled to use such drug under the laws of this state shall not constitute a defense against any charge of violating this section. A person cited under this subsection may upon request be given a breath test for breath alcohol or may request to have a blood sample taken for blood alcohol analysis. An arresting officer shall administer field sobriety tests when circumstances permit. (Ord. 938 §4, 1992 ) .

9.56.050 Permitting operation by incompetent person.

It is unlawful for any person owning or in charge of a vessel to authorize the same to be operated by any person under the influence of or affected by the use of intoxicating liquor or narcotic or habit-forming drugs or by any person who by reason of a physical or mental disability would be incapable of safely operating such vessel. (Ord. 427 (part), 1976).

9.56.060 Age limit.

It is unlawful for any person under the age of twelve years to operate any motorized watercraft or personal watercraft. It shall be unlawful for any person between the ages of twelve and sixteen years to operate any watercraft or personal watercraft powered by more than ten horsepower, and such persons may not exceed five miles per hour. (Ord. 938 §5, 1992).

9.56.070 Overloading vessels.

It is unlawful for any vessel to be loaded with passengers or cargo which exceed the safe carrying capacity of the vessel. Where the safe carrying capacity of a vessel is specified by the manufacturer, such limitation shall be considered the maximum safe loading for the purpose of this chapter. (Ord. 427 (part), 1976).

9.56.080 Overpowering boats.

It is unlawful for any motorboat to be equipped with any motor or propulsion machinery beyond its safe power capacity, taking into consideration the type of construction of such vessel. Where the manufacturer of a vessel has specified the maximum safe horsepower for a particular boat, such maximum shall be considered the limit of safe capacity for the purpose of this chapter. The responsibility for not overloading or overpowering any vessel shall be with the operator of such vessel. (Ord. 427 (part), 1976).

9.56.090 Mufflers.

It is unlawful to operate a motorized watercraft or personal watercraft on any waters in the city unless it is equipped with a muffler or other similar device or water baffling system to reduce the sound of exhaust. It shall be unlawful to remove, disable, bypass, or use a cutout device on any muffler, muffling device or water baffling system of any watercraft or personal watercraft. Outboard engines, due to exhaust design, do not require additional muffling. (Ord 938 §6, 1992; Ord. 454 §3, 1977; Ord. 427 (part), 1976).

9.56.100 Speed limits--Generally.

It is unlawful operate a motorboat upon or across the waters of any lake within the city at a rate of speed greater than five miles per hour during the period from April 15th to October 31st, except as hereinafter provided in Section 9.56.110. (Ord. 427 (part), 1976).

9.56.110 Speed limits--Hicks Lake.

It is lawful to operate motorboats and/or motorboats having in tow a person or persons on water skis, aquaplane, or similar contrivance at speeds in excess of five miles per hour on Hicks Lake under the following conditions:

A.    If the lake is buoyed along a line two hundred feet from shore and fifty feet from any underwater obstruction lying within four feet of the lake’s average seasonal low water level to restrict skiing to an area outside the buoys, such excess speed shall be allowed between the hours of eleven a.m. and eight p.m. or sunset, whichever is earlier. Sunset shall be defined as that time prescribed as sunset in Lacey by the Director of the Nautical Almanac at the United States Observatory at Washington, D.C.

B.    Placement and maintenance of buoys under subsection 9.56.110(A) shall be the responsibility of the skiers and/or property owners. Distance between buoys placed under this subsection shall not exceed three hundred feet.

C.    Times referred to in subsection 9.56.110(A) shall be either Pacific Standard or Pacific Daylight, whichever is currently in effect in Lacey.

D.    Motorboats may pull skiers, aquaplanes or similar contrivances between the line of buoys and shore only when taking off or landing, and in so doing, must operate on a line as nearly perpendicular to the shoreline as possible.

E.    Notwithstanding other provisions of this chapter to the contrary, it is unlawful to operate a motorboat upon or across waters of any lake within the city at a rate of speed greater than five miles per hour commencing with the opening day of lowland fishing season each year and continuing until May 15th.

In no instance shall any watercraft exceed forty-five miles per hour. (Ord. 1155, §1, 2001; Ord. 1138 §1, 2000; Ord. 1134 §1, 2000; Ord. 1063, 1997; Ord. 1060, 1997; Ord. 938 §7, 1992; Ord. 454 §4, 1977; Ord. 427 (part, 1976).

9.56.120 Observers.

It is unlawful for any operator of a motorboat to tow any water skier, aquaplane, or similar contrivance without having a competent and capable person in said boat to act as observer and to assist in any emergency. The observer and the operator shall not be the same person. The observer must face and continuously observe the person being towed at all times, and shall immediately display a flag after the towed person or persons fall into the water, and shall continue to display the flag while the person or persons remain in the water. The flag shall be bright red or brilliant orange in color, measuring at least twelve inches square, mounted on a pole not less than twenty-four inches long and displayed as to be visible from every direction. (Ord. 938 §8, 1992: Ord. 427 (part), 1976).

9.56.130 Personal flotation devices.

All watercraft of less than sixteen feet in length, whether motorized or non-motorized, including all canoe and kayak type craft of any length, must be equipped with at least one U.S. Coast Guard approved type I, II, III, IV, or V personal flotation device for each person on board. Watercraft of sixteen feet or more in length, whether motorized or non-motorized, must be equipped with at least one U.S. Coast Guard approved type I, II, III, or V personal flotation device for each person on board, plus one type IV throwable device per vessel.

All persons being towed by any motorized watercraft, including water skiers, aquaplaners, etc., and all persons operating or riding on a personal watercraft, shall wear a U.S. Coast Guard approved personal flotation device. Wet suits are not acceptable as personal flotation devices unless approved by the U.S. Coast Guard. (Ord. 938 §9, 1992).

9.56.140 Direction of operation.

All motorized watercraft and personal watercraft operating at a speed of more than five miles per hour, with or without a skier or other person in tow, shall keep the operator’s starboard (righthand) side toward the closest shore and proceed around the lake in counter-clockwise direction of travel. Said operators, while piloting the motorized watercraft or personal watercraft in excess of five miles per hour, shall maintain a minimum distance of at least two hundred feet from any shore, dock, or public swimming area, and follow no closer than three hundred feet behind any other watercraft, personal watercraft, skier, or other person in tow. In addition, no motorized watercraft or personal watercraft operating at a speed of more than five miles per hour, with or without a skier or other person in tow, shall pass within one hundred feet alongside of any other watercraft, personal watercraft, skier or other person in tow or swimmer nor shall any such craft cross within two hundred feet of the bow of any other watercraft, personal watercraft, or any other vessel. Operators of motorized watercraft or personal watercraft traveling at a speed of more than five miles per hour shall not break out of this traffic pattern unless pulling a water skier for takeoff or landing at an angle perpendicular to shore, dock, or other launching facility, when such a takeoff or landing would not constitute undue risk to persons or property; all other motorized watercraft and personal watercraft, when approaching or leaving shore, docks, or other launching facilities, shall maintain a speed of no more than five miles per hour within two hundred feet of shore or such facilities.

It shall be unlawful for any motorized watercraft or personal watercraft traveling at a speed of more than five miles per hour to operate in a circular fashion around any other watercraft, personal watercraft, any other type of vessel, or any water skier or swimmer, or to operate in a circular fashion that is not consistent with traffic movement around the lake, unless engaged in rendering of assistance to other watercraft, water skiers, swimmers, etc. (Ord. 938 §10, 1992).

9.56.150 Repealed by Ord. 938.

(Ord 938 §1(part), 1992; Ord. 427 (part), 1976).

9.56.160 Operation within marked areas.

No person shall operate a vessel within a water area which has been clearly marked with buoys, skin diving markers, or some other distinguishing device as a bathing, swimming, skin diving, or other restricted area; provided, that this section shall not apply in cases of emergency nor when the vessel is in support of a diving exercise. (Ord. 427 (part), 1976).

9.56.170 Right-of-way.

Operators of motorboats shall at all times yield the right-of-way to nonmotor-power craft, swimmers, bathers, water skiers and aquaplaners. (Ord. 427 (part), 1976).

9.56.180 Refuse.

It is unlawful for any person to deposit refuse, foreign matter or litter in the waters of any lake located in the city. (Ord. 427 (part), 1976).

9.56.190 Skin diving.

Persons engaging in skin diving shall mark the water areas where such operations are being conducted with buoyed flags of sufficient size so that they may be seen at a distance of not less than one hundred yards under normal visibility conditions; provided, that where skin diving operations are conducted between the hours of sunset and sunrise, artificially illuminated marker buoys shall be provided which are visible at a distance of not less than one hundred yards under normal visibility conditions. Skin diving shall not be conducted so as to unreasonably interfere with normal operations of vessels. (Ord. 427 (part), 1976).

9.56.200 Fire extinguishers.

All motorized watercraft and personal watercraft equipped with in-board engines, permanently installed fuel tanks, or closed compartments in which portable fuel tanks or flammable materials are stored must carry at least one Coast Guard approved marine type B-I or B-II fire extinguisher. (Ord. 938 §11, 1992).

9.56.210 Watercraft registration.

No person shall own, operate, or be in physical control of any power driven watercraft or personal watercraft which is equipped with an engine of more than ten horsepower on waters within the jurisdiction of the city unless the watercraft is at the time registered with the Washington State Department of Licensing as required under RCW Chapter 88.02. Registration documents must be carried on all registered watercraft and personal watercraft during operation. (Ord. 938 §12, 1992).

9.56.215 Positioning of watercraft registration numbers and annual registration decal.

Pursuant to RCW Chapter 88.02, all registered watercraft and personal watercraft shall display vessel registration numbers on the forward half of the vessel in three inch block numbers in a color contrasting with the background. The annual registration decal shall be affixed directly adjacent to the registration numbers.

Registration numbers and annual decal must be clearly visible to other boaters at all times. (Ord. 938 §13, 1992).

9.56.220 Reporting accidents.

Any person operating a vessel, water skis, aquaplane or similar device which has collided with any person or property of another, causing any property damage or personal injury, shall within twenty-four hours report such collision to the chief of police. The chief of police shall provide forms upon which such reports may be filed. (Ord. 427 (part), 1976).

9.56.224 Duty to obey enforcement officer--Authority of officer.

Any person requested or signaled to stop by a commissioned enforcement officer for any violations of this chapter has a duty to stop. The signal given by the officer may be hand, voice, emergency light or siren.

Any operator of a watercraft who willfully fails to stop when requested or signaled to do so by a person reasonably identifiable as an enforcement officer is guilty of a gross misdemeanor.

Any operator of a watercraft who willfully fails or refuses to immediately bring the watercraft to a stop or attempts to elude a pursuing enforcement vessel after being given a visual or audible signal to bring the watercraft to a stop shall be guilty of a gross misdemeanor.

Any person requested to identify himself/herself to an enforcement officer pursuant to an investigation of a violation of this chapter has a duty to identify himself/herself, give his/her current address and sign an acknowledgment of receipt of the notice of violation. (Ord. 938 §14, 1992).

9.56.226 Harassment of wildlife and waterfowl.

It shall be unlawful for operators of any motorized watercraft or personal watercraft to purposefully chase, intimidate, injure, or otherwise harass any type of wildlife or waterfowl. (Ord. 938 §15, 1992).

9.56.228 Inspection for aquatic weeds and plant life.

All operators of all motorized and non-motorized vessels, watercraft, and personal watercraft, and all persons fishing from public or private docking facilities or shore, shall thoroughly and completely inspect vessels, recreational equipment, and fishing equipment for presence of aquatic weeds and plant life immediately before and after using such vessels or equipment in or upon the waters of any lake, pond, or other body of water within the city. Any and all plant material found through such inspection shall be immediately removed from the vessel or equipment and disposed of in a standard refuse container. Such vegetation shall not be discarded upon the shore or the ground, into any body of water, or upon any part of any public launching facility or adjacent private property. (Ord. 938 §16, 1992).

9.56.230 Violation--Penalty.

A.    Any person who violates any section of this chapter not classified as an infraction by subsection B. of this section, shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor.

B.    Violation of sections 9.56.070, 9.56.090, 9.56.120, 9.56.130 or 9.56.200 shall constitute a boating infraction. The penalty and bail amounts for such infractions shall be as set forth by court rule pursuant to rule 6.2 of the Infraction Rules for Courts of Limited Jurisdiction. (Ord. 1001 §12, 1994; Ord. 427 (part), 1976).


1

Editor’s Note: Ch. 9.56 was readopted in its entirety by Ord. 731, passed March 28, 1985.


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The Lacey Municipal Code is current through Ordinance 1445, passed October 9, 2014.

Disclaimer: The City Clerk's Office has the official version of the Lacey Municipal Code. Users should contact the City Clerk's Office for ordinances passed subsequent to the ordinance cited above.

City Website: http://www.ci.lacey.wa.us/
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