Chapter 8.16


8.16.010    Declaration of policy.

8.16.020    Title.

8.16.030    Definitions.

8.16.040    Compliance with Coast Guard regulations.

8.16.050    Operation while under influence of liquor or drugs.

8.16.060    Permitting incapable person to operate vessel.

8.16.070    Age restrictions.

8.16.080    Mooring and anchorage restrictions.

8.16.090    Rental of motorboats.

8.16.100    Operation in restricted water areas.

8.16.110    Waterskiing.

8.16.120    Races and regattas.

8.16.130    Engine exhaust muffling requirements—Racing exception.

8.16.140    Obstructions.

8.16.150    Speed restrictions.

8.16.160    Litter—Sewage.

8.16.170    Accident reports.

8.16.180    Scuba diving and swimming.

8.16.190    Enforcement.

8.16.200    Citation—Promise to appear.

8.16.210    Violation—Penalty.

8.16.010 Declaration of policy.

It is the policy of Douglas County to promote safety and enjoyment of persons using the waters of the county. This chapter is intended to supplement, but not infringe upon, the boating safety laws and regulations of the state and the United States. (Ord. CE 87-3 § 1)

8.16.020 Title.

This chapter shall be known as the “Douglas County Boating Ordinance.” (Ord. CE 87-3 § 2)

8.16.030 Definitions.

As used in this chapter:

1.    “Motorboat” means any vessel propelled in any respect by machinery, including but not limited to those temporarily equipped with detachable motors, and jet skis.

2.    “Persons” means any natural person, partnership, association or corporation.

3.    “Sheriff” means the sheriff of Douglas County, or any duly appointed deputy sheriff of the county.

4.    “Shoreline” means any existing water line.

5.    “Slow minimal wake speed” means very slow speed producing a minimum wake not to exceed six inches in height at its apex when reaching any shoreline, pier or shore installation, and further not to exceed eight miles per hour in any event.

6.    “Vessel” means every description of watercraft, other than a seaplane on the water, used or capable of being used as a means of transportation on the water. This definition includes, but is not limited to, the following: motorboats, sailboats, rowboats, rafts, jet skis, water skis, surfboards, aquaplanes, canoes, kayaks, barges and trawlers, but not including simple flotation devices, such as inner tubes, air mattresses and life jackets. (Ord. CE 87-3 § 3)

8.16.040 Compliance with Coast Guard regulations.

It is unlawful in the county to operate or offer for rent any vessel which is in violation of the following U.S. Coast Guard regulations and rules, copies of which are on file with the county auditor and with each city clerk in the county:

A.    Numbering, 33 Code of Federal Regulations (hereinafter “CFR”) 173.11 -- 35;

B.    Equipment requirements, 33 CFR 175;

C.    Safe loading, 33 CFR 182.31 -- 43;

D.    Safe powering, 33 CFR 183.51 -- 67;

E.    Navigation lights and shapes, whistles, foghorns, fog bells and gongs, 46 CFR 25.05;

F.    Life preservers and other life-saving equipment, 46 CFR 25.25;

G.    Fire-extinguishing equipment, 45 CFR 25.30;

H.    Backfire flame control, 46 CFR 25.40;

I.    Ventilation, 46 CFR 25.40;

J.    “U.S. Coast Guard Navigation Rules, International-Inland,” as set forth in M16672.sA, December 23, 1983. (Ord. CE 87-3 § 4)

8.16.050 Operation while under influence of liquor or drugs.

A.    A person is guilty of operating a vessel while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or drugs if he operates a vessel on the waters of the county while:

1.    He has 0.10 percent or more by weight of alcohol in his blood as shown by chemical analysis of his blood, breath or other bodily substance shown by tests made in the manner provided by the statutes of the state of Washington governing the operating of motor vehicles;

2.    He is under the influence of or affected by intoxicating liquor or any drug; or

3.    He is under the combined influence of or affected by intoxicating liquor and any drug.

B.    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 the state shall not constitute a defense against any charge of violating this section.

C.    If the amount of alcohol in the person’s blood at the time alleged, as shown by chemical analysis of his blood, breath or other bodily substance, is less than 0.10 percent by weight of alcohol in the person’s blood, it is evidence that may be considered with other competent evidence in determining whether the person was under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug. (Ord. CE 87-3 § 5)

8.16.060 Permitting incapable person to operate vessel.

It is unlawful for any person owning or in charge of a vessel to authorize or knowingly permit the vessel to be operated by a person who is under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug or who is, by reason of age, experience or physical or mental disability, incapable of safely operating such vessel. (Ord. CE 87-3 § 6)

8.16.070 Age restrictions.

It is unlawful for a minor child fourteen years of age or under to operate a motor boat, or for any person to authorize or knowingly permit such a minor child to operate a motorboat, except:

A.    When such child is accompanied by an individual who is at least eighteen years of age and who is capable of safely operating such a motorboat; or

B.    When the child is ten years of age or older and the motorboat has an engine of fifteen horsepower or less. (Ord. CE 87-3 § 7)

8.16.080 Mooring and anchorage restrictions.

A.    It is unlawful to moor, dock or berth a vessel to any fixed or floating structure:

1.    Which is privately owned, without the owner’s permission; or

2.    Which delineates or is a portion of a designated swimming area.

B.    It is unlawful to anchor any vessel within any established channel or heavily traveled area, except:

1.    When such vessel is anchored in an established anchorage area;

2.    When such vessel poses no obstacle to the free movement and safety of other vessels or persons; and

3.    When such vessel displays a white light in compliance with the United States Coast Guard regulations identified in Section 8.16.040. (Ord. CE 87-3 § 8)

8.16.090 Rental of motorboats.

Any person engaged in the business of renting motorboats shall keep a record of the name and address of the person or persons hiring any motorboat, the motorboat’s identification number, the departure time, and the expected time of return. The record shall be preserved for at least two years and shall be available for inspection by the sheriff at least once each year for determining compliance with all applicable laws and regulations. (Ord. CE 87-3 § 9)

8.16.100 Operation in restricted water areas.

A.    No person shall operate a motorboat or sailboat within twenty-five yards of a water area which has been clearly marked with buoys, skindiving markers or some other distinguishing markers as a bathing, swimming, skindiving or otherwise restricted area.

B.    The terms of this subsection shall not be construed as prohibiting the use of personal flotation devices capable of use by a single individual.

C.    The placement or use of any boat outfitted with or containing a combustion engine is hereby prohibited on Hideaway Lake, Hammand Lake, and Big Bow Lake, regardless of whether the operator of the boat intends to or does use the combustion engine or whether the combustion engine is operational. The terms of this subsection shall not prohibit the use of combustion engines on Hideaway Lake, Hammand Lake, or Big Bow Lake for special events approved in advance by the city council.

D.    Any violation of this chapter shall be a civil infraction punishable by a fine of not more than two hundred fifty ($250) dollars. (Ord. 02-70-01: Ord. CE 87-3 § 10)

8.16.110 Waterskiing.

A.    For purposes of this section, any person who operates a vessel which has in tow another person or persons on water skis, aquaplane or other similar vessel, and any person who operates such water skis, aquaplane or similar vessel in tow behind a vessel, shall be deemed engaged in waterskiing.

B.    It is unlawful for any person to engage in waterskiing unless:

1.    The vessel doing the towing is occupied by at least two persons competent to ensure the safety of the persons in tow;

2.    Such waterskiing is done between sunrise and sunset;

3.    Such waterskiing is done in a careful and prudent manner and at a reasonable distance from persons and property. Unless conditions of the water, congestion, weather or other circumstances demand a greater distance, a reasonable distance shall not be less than twenty-five yards from any person, vessel, swimming dock or float, boat moorage, buoyed area, skindiving, water area or similarly restricted area;

4.    Such waterskiing shall be performed in such a way as not to cause the water skis, aquaplane or similar vessel or any persons thereon to collide with or strike against any persons or object other than a jumping ramp or in conjunction with skiing over a slalom course; and

5.    The person or persons in tow are wearing personal flotation devices in compliance with those described in the U.S. Coast Guard regulations referred to in Section 8.16.040.

C.    Waterskiing at speeds in excess of those permitted in Section 8.16.150 is allowed for the limited purpose of launching and returning the persons in tow, so long as such operation conforms to the other provisions of this chapter. (Ord. CE 87-3 § 11)

8.16.120 Races and regattas.

It is unlawful to hold regattas, motorboat or other boat races, tournaments or exhibitions, waterski tournaments, or other similar events in the county unless prior authorization is first obtained from the county sheriff. Persons or organizations desiring to sponsor such events shall apply to the sheriff at least thirty days in advance of the commencement of such events for a permit. Such applications shall be submitted on forms provided by the sheriff and shall specify the waters and general area where the event shall be held, the buoys or other marking devices the sponsor of such event shall place upon the waters to set off any race course or other area, the provisions made by the sponsors for patrolling to protect the course or other area, the provisions made by the sponsors for patrolling to prevent the unauthorized entry into the area of nonparticipants, the rescue and safety measures that shall be provided to ensure the safety of participants and others from injury or damage, the dates of such events, including the dates of trial practice or preliminary events, and such other information as the sheriff may require to fully inform him of the nature and extent of such event.

Each application for a power boat event shall be accompanied by a permit fee of twenty-five dollars and a bond of not less than one thousand dollars, payable to the county, to hold the county harmless from any injury or damage which may result from such event, and to ensure that requirements for markers, rescue equipment or other safety conditions stated in the application as finally approved are actually provided.

Within ten days after receiving such application, if adequate provisions are made for the safety of the participants and the general public, the sheriff may issue a permit for such events. Such permit shall be issued subject to the condition that the applicant will fulfill the provisions specified in the application as finally approved. If, at any time, the sponsors or participants in such event violate any of the conditions contained in the application, such permit may be revoked by the sheriff in the name of the county for the public safety.

The provisions of this section shall not exempt any person from compliance with applicable federal laws or regulations; but nothing contained herein shall be construed to require the securing of a county permit pursuant to this section if a permit therefor has been obtained from an authorized agency of the United States. (Ord. CE 87-3 § 12)

8.16.130 Engine exhaust muffling requirements—Racing exception.

A.     It is unlawful to use or operate any watercraft powered by an internal combustion engine, except that the following engines will be permitted: outboard engines of stock manufacture or stock manufactured inboard engines equipped with through-the-transom exhaust systems or stern-drive exhaust systems which are adequately muffled to reduce the noise level produced by the exhaust to the level designated in subsection (C) of this section.

B.    Engines which are worn, damaged or modified in such a manner as to permit the noise level of exhaust gases or air intake devices to be increased above the level designated in subsection (C) of this section are prohibited.

C.    It is unlawful to operate a motorboat such that the noise from the exhaust of the motorboat, at any revolutions-per-minute level, exceeds eighty dba when measured at a distance of fifty feet or more from the exhaust in any direction. (The dba reading shall be taken on a calibrated sound meter of good quality measured on the “A” scale.)

D.    The provisions of this section shall not apply to motorboats actually competing in a race or regatta authorized by the county sheriff. (Ord. CE 87-3 § 13)

8.16.140 Obstructions.

When any sunken or drifting and unattended vessel or object obstructs or creates a hazard to the operation of motorboats on the waters of the county, the county sheriff shall order the owner or person in charge thereof to remove or restrain such vessel or object. Upon failure of such person to do so, or inability of the sheriff to determine the ownership of the vessel or object, the sheriff may take custody of the vessel or object and may take such reasonable steps as are needed to clear the waters of the obstruction or hazard. Expenses reasonably incurred by the sheriff in removing and relocating a vessel or other object shall be recovered from the owner thereof, as a condition precedent to restoring the vessel or object to the owner. (Ord. CE 87-3 § 14 (part))

8.16.150 Speed restrictions.

A.    Except as otherwise provided, no vessel shall be operated at a speed in excess of the slow minimal wake speed.

B.    A vessel may be operated at a speed in excess of the slow minimal wake speed if:

1.    The vessel is not operated within one hundred yards of any shoreline or pier; and

2.    The speed is reasonable and prudent under the conditions and having regard for actual and potential hazards. (Ord. CE 87-3 § 15 (part))

8.16.160 Litter—Sewage.

It is unlawful for any person to deposit refuse, foreign matter, litter or inadequately treated sewage and/or human waste in the waters of the county. Such sewage and/or human waste may be discharged into said waters only if adequately treated by a device or facility approved by the Chelan-Douglas health district. Unless a vessel has a current certificate of approval on board from the Chelan-Douglas health district for such device or facility, the marine toilet must be kept sealed while on the waters of the county. (Ord. CE 87-3 § 16)

8.16.170 Accident reports.

A.    Every accident involving a vessel on the waters of the county, which results in any personal injury or in property damage in excess of two hundred dollars, shall be reported to the county sheriff by the operator of the vessel. The sheriff shall provide forms upon which such reports may be prepared.

B.    The operator of any vessel involved in an accident resulting in injury to or death of any person or damage to property shall immediately stop at the scene and exchange his name, address and the name and number of his vessel with the other parties, and shall render reasonable assistance to any person who has been injured or whose vessel has been disabled. (Ord. CE 87-3 § 17 (part))

8.16.180 Scuba diving and swimming.

A.    Persons engaging in scuba diving shall mark the area where such operations are being conducted with buoys or other markers which can be seen from a distance at that time of not less than one hundred yards.

B.    It is unlawful to scuba dive within one hundred yards of any ferry slip, public moorage or public boat ramp.

C.    It is unlawful to skin dive or to swim beyond a distance of one hundred yards from the shoreline, or a pier, unless accompanied by a vessel which can be seen at such time from a distance of not less than one hundred yards. (Ord. CE 87-3 § 18)

8.16.190 Enforcement.

A.    It is the duty of the sheriff to enforce the provisions of this chapter.

B.    When a violation of this chapter is made in the sheriff’s presence, he may board any vessel and may arrest the violator. In all other cases, arrest for violation of this chapter shall be made pursuant to a warrant.

C.    The sheriff has authority to stop and board any vessel for the purpose of inspection or determining compliance with this chapter.

D.    Notices shall be posted on the wharf or docks of each boat livery and adjacent to the public launching ramps, docks or wharves at such locations as will reasonably inform the boating public of restrictions.

E.    Failure of the sheriff to post these notices shall be no defense in a prosecution under this chapter, but the court may consider this factor in imposing its penalty. (Ord. CE 87-3 § 14 (part))

8.16.200 Citation—Promise to appear.

Whenever any person is arrested for any violation of this chapter, the arrested person must give his written promise to appear in court, as required by the citation and notice, by signing in the appropriate place the written citation and notice served by the arresting officer. Upon the arrested person’s failing or refusing to sign such written promise, he may be taken into the custody of such arresting officer and so remain or be placed in confinement. (Ord. CE 87-3 § 15 (part))

8.16.210 Violation—Penalty.

Except where otherwise provided, any person who violates this chapter is deemed guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction thereof shall be punished by a fine of not more than five hundred dollars. (Ord. CE 87-3 § 17 (part))