Chapter 11.20
WATER SKIING, SWIMMING AND SKIN DIVING REGULATIONS

Sections:

11.20.010    Water skiing.

11.20.020    Swimming.

11.20.025    Floatation devices on the South Fork of the Nooksack River.

11.20.030    Skin diving.

11.20.010 Water skiing.

A. Age Requirements. No vessel which has in tow or is otherwise assisting a person on water skis, aquaplane, surfboard, innertube or similar contrivances, shall be operated unless such vessel is occupied by at least two persons, one at least the age of 16 years, and one of at least eight years of age who shall be observer or ski-tender in addition to the operator; provided that this prohibition shall not apply to vessels used in duly authorized ski tournaments.

B. Intoxication Prohibited. No person shall ride or manipulate any water skis, aquaplane, surfboard, innertube or similar contrivance while in tow, or being assisted by a vessel, when such person is under the influence of intoxicating liquor or drugs to a degree which renders said person incapable of safely riding or manipulating such a contrivance.

C. Distance from Shoreline. Except on safe takeoffs and safe landing, vessels and persons under tow on water skis, aquaplane, surfboard, innertube or a similar contrivance must keep 150 feet or more from the dock, float, or shoreline with the exception of Lake Whatcom which shall remain at 300 feet from the shore, dock or float. A takeoff will not be considered “safe” unless the person(s) under tow are heading away from the shore and the takeoff can be accomplished without any risk to swimmers or vessels. The person(s) under tow, but not the vessel, may come within 150 feet of the shoreline when in the process of landing, provided that the return to the shore must be at any angle of 45 degrees or more to the shoreline.

D. Other Vessels. No vessel shall follow behind a skier closer than 300 feet, not cross the towing boat bow by less than 200 feet, nor alongside a skier closer than 100 feet.

E. Personal Flotation Devices Required. Any person on water skis, aquaplane, surfboard, innertube or similar contrivance shall wear about his body a type I, II, or III personal flotation device as defined and required by the U.S. Coast Guard.

F. Conduct. Any person on water skis, aquaplanes, surfboards, innertubes, or similar contrivances shall conduct himself upon the same in a careful and prudent manner, and shall remain at all times a reasonable and prudent distance from other persons and from the property of others, and shall not come within 100 feet of a swimmer or any other vessel.

G. Hours. No vessel shall have in tow or shall otherwise assist a person on water skis, aquaplane, surfboard, innertube or a similar contrivance from one-half hour after sunset to one-half hour before sunrise; provided, that this subsection shall not apply to vessels engaged in duly authorized water ski competitions or expositions.

H. Pattern. All boats towing skiers shall go in a counterclockwise pattern.

I. Public Boat Launches. No drop-off or take-off of skier or having a person in tow within 300 feet of public boat launch.

J. Skier Down Flags. When your skier is in the water the observer must display a red or orange “skier down” flag. This flag must be 12 inches square and mounted on a two-foot pole. (Ord. 90-83 (part)).

11.20.020 Swimming.

No person shall swim or operate a paddleboard, innertube, rubber raft or similar unlicensed device except in restricted swimming areas or within a distance of 150 feet from the shore, unless the swimmer is accompanied by a vessel. (Ord. 90-83 (part)).

11.20.025 Floatation devices on the South Fork of the Nooksack River.

No person shall operate a paddleboard, innertube, inflatable floatation device, foam floatation device, limb-propelled floatation device, or rubber raft intended for limb use on the section of the South Fork of the Nooksack River between Edfro Creek and the Acme Bridge between the dates of June 1st and October 31st. The provisions of this section shall not apply to:

A. Devices engaged principally in commercial operations constituting an act of interstate or foreign commerce or bona fide scientific research;

B. Use for emergency purposes when there is reasonable belief that such use is necessary to protect or preserve persons, animals or property;

C. Use by law enforcement agencies to enforce the above provisions;

D. Department of Natural Resources-designated and Whatcom County-designated swimming/boating areas on the South Fork of the Nooksack River. (Ord. 2005-089 Exh. A).

11.20.030 Skin diving.

A. No person shall operate (swim, float or walk) under water with the aid of any artificial device such as snorkel or self-contained underwater breathing apparatus (scuba) beyond 100 feet from the shoreline unless closely accompanied by a boat displaying a diver’s flag or unless marked by a diver’s flag above the water surface and above the operator’s position in the water.

B. The underwater operator shall keep within a 50-foot horizontal radius of the diver’s flag at all times.

C. No person shall display any diver’s flag except during the period a person is operating under water within the vicinity of the diver’s flag.

D. Separate diver’s flags shall be displayed for each person so operating under water.

E. No person shall operate under water, except with a permit issued at the discretion of the sheriff’s department, within a 300-foot horizontal radius of any boat ramp or landing wharf of any boat marina, nor shall such person operate within a 100-foot horizontal radius of any platform normally used for diving. (Ord. 90-83 (part)).