Chapter 12.08


12.08.010    Territorial jurisdiction.

12.08.020    Scope of chapter.

12.08.030    Enforcement.

12.08.040    Health regulations.

12.08.050    Explosive cargo.

12.08.060    Unsafe docks.

12.08.070    Moorage facilities owned by the city.

12.08.080    Repealed.

12.08.090    Watercraft at anchor.

12.08.100    Impediments to navigation – Removal.

12.08.110    Oil spillage.

12.08.120    Inflammable cargo – Fire resistant tow lines.

12.08.130    Mooring lines.

12.08.140    Speed limit.

12.08.150    Due care and caution.

12.08.160    Lights and equipment – Federal regulations.

12.08.170    Navigation rules.

12.08.180    Right to inspect.

12.08.190    Docks – General safety provisions.

12.08.010 Territorial jurisdiction.

The navigable waters within the jurisdiction of the city as described in RCW 35.21.160, as the same may be amended from time to time, shall be known as Bellingham Harbor for the purposes of this title. [Ord. 9515, 1985; Ord. 8655 § 2(A), 1978].

12.08.020 Scope of chapter.

The provisions of this chapter shall be applicable to any person owning or controlling any dock or boathouse, to all watercraft operating in Bellingham Harbor, and to all persons or obstructions in the harbor area. The provisions of this chapter shall be construed to supplement the laws and regulations of the United States and the state of Washington when not expressly inconsistent therewith. Nothing herein shall be construed to limit the effect of any other city ordinance where appropriate and not in conflict with any provision herein. [Ord. 9515, 1985; Ord. 8655 § 2(B), 1978].

12.08.030 Enforcement.

It shall be the duty of the harbor master and such persons as he may delegate, and the city police department, to enforce the provisions of this chapter. [Ord. 9515, 1985; Ord. 8655 § 2(C), 1978].

12.08.040 Health regulations.

All watercraft entering or located in the harbor shall comply with the applicable public health laws and regulations of the United States, the state of Washington and its political subdivisions. [Ord. 9515, 1985; Ord. 8655 § 2(D), 1978].

12.08.050 Explosive cargo.

A. It is unlawful for any master or other person having charge of any watercraft having on board a cargo of explosives or blasting agents, to allow such watercraft to lie or be at any dock within the jurisdiction of the city without a permit from the fire department, the fee for which shall be $150.00; this restriction does not apply to explosives anchorages designated in accordance with federal law.

B. Permits shall be issued only for the handling and transfer of blasting agents within guidelines established by the fire chief.

C. For purposes of this section the term “explosives” and “blasting agents” shall be defined as set forth in the International Fire Code as now adopted or hereafter amended by city ordinance. [Ord. 9889, 1989; Ord. 9515, 1985; Ord. 8655 § 2(E), 1978].

12.08.060 Unsafe docks.

A. It is unlawful for the owner, lessee, manager, or other person operating any dock in the city of Bellingham, or for the owner, lessee, operator, or master of any watercraft therein, to use any gangway or gangplank for embarking or disembarking passengers from any watercraft from or to any dock without a strong and well-secured lifeline or handrail on both sides of such gangway or gangplank from end to end thereof.

B. Whenever any gangway or dock devoted to public use appears to be dangerous for such use, the harbor master or any police officer shall report the matter to the city building official who shall inspect the same and, if required, shall forbid the use of such gangway for any purpose until the same shall have been repaired or reconstructed so as to render it safe for use. The building official may cause to be erected such fencing or barricade he deems necessary to prevent the use of any unsafe gangway or dock and the expense thereof shall be paid by and recoverable from the owner, agent, or lessee of such dock or gangway to the city. [Ord. 9515, 1985; Ord. 8655 § 2(F), 1978].

12.08.070 Moorage facilities owned by the city.

A. Moorage facilities owned by the city of Bellingham shall be available for berthage of pleasure watercraft and commercial watercraft of 100 feet or under, or such other watercraft as the harbor master may prescribe.

B. It is unlawful for any owner or master of noncommercial watercraft to remain in moorage facilities of the city for more than 24 hours’ duration at any one time. Moorage of transient commercial watercraft is limited to four hours’ duration. There shall be a minimum of 48 hours’ interval between reberthing by the same watercraft; provided, however, that the harbor master may issue a permit to any owner or master of any watercraft to berth for a longer period of time than herein specified, where, in his opinion, good cause exists for the issuance of such permit, and the issuance thereof will not result in undue congestion of moorage facilities.

C. To make room for watercraft requiring immediate accommodation, idle watercraft must haul or go to anchor at their own expense when required to do so by the harbor master. Watercraft shall not berth alongside of the Central Avenue floats more than two deep; the main float shall be for emergency use only, limited to two hours; and the float designated for seaplanes is limited to that use. No watercraft shall occupy the berthage adjacent to cargo handling facilities owned and operated by the city of Bellingham longer than while actually engaged in the handling of cargo.

D. It shall be unlawful for any person to tie, anchor or maintain any watercraft in such a manner as to constitute an obstruction. Any person authorized to enforce the provisions of this title may take such reasonable measures including but not limited to moving an obstruction or towing away violating watercraft to a place of safety. Any watercraft so impounded shall not be released unless and until the owner or master shall have first paid the city for any expenses incurred in impounding and keeping said watercraft.

E. It shall be unlawful for any person to use any city dock for the purpose of storing rowboats, merchandise or other articles unless pursuant to contract with the city, and none shall be allowed to remain upon said dock longer than is necessary for the purpose of loading or unloading. Any such material may be impounded and held for safekeeping by anyone authorized to enforce the provisions of this title and shall be released to the owner or other responsible person only after payment of the cost of such impoundment and storage to the city. [Ord. 9515, 1985; Ord. 8655 § 2(G), 1978].

12.08.080 Regulations governing facilities operated by the Port of Bellingham.

Repealed by Ord. 2015-03-007. [Ord. 9515, 1985; Ord. 8967 § 1, 1981; Ord. 8655 § 2(H), 1978].

12.08.090 Watercraft at anchor.

Watercraft at anchor or moored to a permanent mooring buoy will comply with the applicable navigation rules, and no watercraft so anchored or moored shall be left without some person in charge of it by day and by night. [Ord. 9515, 1985; Ord. 8655 § 2(I), 1978].

12.08.100 Impediments to navigation – Removal.

A. It is unlawful to tie up or anchor vessels or other craft in the harbor of the city in such manner as to prevent or obstruct the passage of watercraft, or to voluntarily or carelessly sink, or cause to be sunk, watercraft or obstructions in the navigable waters of the city; or to float or turn adrift loose timbers, logs, booms, piles, boomsticks or wreckage of any description in such manner as to obstruct, impede or injure navigation. Whenever a watercraft is wrecked or sunk in the harbor, accidentally or otherwise, it shall be the duty of the master of such sunken craft to immediately mark it as required by federal law, and to maintain such mark until the sunken craft is removed.

B. The neglect or failure of such owner to do so is unlawful; and it shall be the duty of the master of such sunken watercraft or obstruction to commence the immediate removal of the same and to prosecute the removal diligently, and should the owner fail, the city or the port may, at their option, have it removed and the expenses of same charged to the owner. [Ord. 9515, 1985; Ord. 8655 § 2(J), 1978].

12.08.110 Oil spillage.

No owner or master in charge of the engine room or machinery of any watercraft, and no person in charge of or employed in or about any dock shall spill, throw, pump or otherwise cause oil of any description to be or float upon the waters of the harbor. Floating oil is a nuisance, and may be abated at the cost of the person causing the spill, in accordance with the provisions of BMC Title 10. [Ord. 9515, 1985; Ord. 8655 § 2(L), 1978].

12.08.120 Inflammable cargo – Fire resistant tow lines.

All watercraft carrying cargoes of oil or any other highly inflammable material, while lying at any dock or at anchor, shall have at all times two fire resistant cable tow lines, one from the bow and one from the stern, of a size appropriate for towing the watercraft with an eye on each end, located on the offshore side, not more than four feet above the water. [Ord. 9515, 1985; Ord. 8655 § 2(N), 1978].

12.08.130 Mooring lines.

All watercraft making fast to any dock or mooring shall do so in a safe manner with suitable lines and fastenings to be furnished by the watercraft. [Ord. 9515, 1985; Ord. 8655 § 2(O), 1978].

12.08.140 Speed limit.

All watercraft shall proceed at a moderate speed and except as provided elsewhere in this chapter it shall be unlawful for any person to operate any watercraft at a speed in excess of seven knots within 200 yards of any shoreline, pier, restricted area or shore installation, except aircraft in the process of taking off or landing. [Ord. 9515, 1985; Ord. 8655 § 2(P), 1978].

12.08.150 Due care and caution.

Compliance with the speed restrictions contained in this chapter shall not relieve the master of any watercraft from the further exercise of due care and caution as circumstances shall require. [Ord. 9515, 1985; Ord. 8655 § 2(Q), 1978].

12.08.160 Lights and equipment – Federal regulations.

All watercraft shall comply with Title 46, Code of Federal Regulations and other applicable rules and regulations prescribed by the federal government in regard to construction and safety equipment applicable to watercraft. Said regulations are hereby adopted by reference. [Ord. 9515, 1985; Ord. 8655 § 2(R), 1978].

12.08.170 Navigation rules.

The Navigation Rules, International Inland, also known as 72 COLREGS, Commandant of the Coast Guard Instruction M16672.2A and 33 CFR 80 et seq., are hereby adopted by reference as part of this chapter. [Ord. 9515, 1985].

12.08.180 Right to inspect.

The harbor master or any of his duly authorized assistants or any city of Bellingham police officer shall have authority to enter upon and inspect any dock, watercraft, or structure over or upon the water, at all reasonable times in the performance of any duty imposed upon them by this title; provided, however, that the occupant of such dock, watercraft, or structure has the right to request that the inspection be delayed until a time mutually agreed upon by the occupant and the enforcement officer. [Ord. 9515, 1985; Ord. 8655 § 2(T), 1978].

12.08.190 Docks – General safety provisions.

A. Passenger Loading. Proper safety precautions in regard to the loading and discharge of passengers, as promulgated by the harbor master, must be followed.

B. Chemical Cargoes – Safety Equipment. Proper safety equipment shall be available for use wherever any persons are engaged in unloading or loading chemical cargoes.

C. Fender Logs. Fender logs shall be properly fastened and secured.

D. Lighting. All docks shall be adequately lighted at night whenever passengers or cargo are being loaded or unloaded. [Ord. 9515, 1985; Ord. 8655 § 2(U), 1978].