Chapter 9.04
BOATING AND RECREATIONAL ACTIVITIES*

Sections:

9.04.010    Definitions.

9.04.020    Purpose and interpretation of regulations.

9.04.040    Maximum speed limit.

9.04.050    Boat rental records.

9.04.060    Operation in marked areas.

9.04.070    Boats lending assistance—Water-skiing.

9.04.080    Boating events—Fees—Permits.

9.04.090    Operation of boats and seaplanes near shoreline.

9.04.100    Deposit of refuse.

9.04.105    Skin diving—Markers.

9.04.110    Swimming beyond “no wake” area.

9.04.115    Mooring buoy.

9.04.120    Exemption to motorboats and seaplanes near shoreline— Permit.

9.04.130    Special restrictions.

9.04.140    County-owned moorage facilities.

9.04.150    Violations of chapter—Penalty.

9.04.160    Severability.

*    Prior history: Ords. 8435, 12666, 14490 and 14945.

9.04.010 Definitions.

The words listed below as used in this chapter mean:

(1) “Diver’s flag”: Shall mean a red flag five (5) units of measurement of the hoist by six (6) units of measurement on the fly with a white stripe of one unit crossing the red diagonally with the flag having stiffeners. This flag shall only pertain to skin and scuba (self-contained underwater breathing apparatus) diving, and shall supplement any nationally recognized diver’s flag or marking.

(2) “Idling or no-wake speed”: Shall mean a very slow speed whereby the wake or wash created by the vessel would be minimal.

(3) “Length” as it refers to vessels means the overall distance measured in a straight line parallel to the centerline from the aforemost part of the vessel to the aftermost part of the vessel, excluding bowsprits, bumpkins, rudders, outboard motors and brackets, and similar fittings and attachments.

(4) “Motorboat”: Any vessel propelled in any respect by machinery, including those temporarily equipped with detachable motors.

(5) “Person”: Any natural person, partnership, association or corporation.

(6) “Pier”: Any pier, wharf, dock, float, or other structure to promote the convenient loading or unloading or other discharge of vessels or watercraft, or the repair thereof.

(7) “Restricted area”: Any area that has been marked or buoyed in accordance with regulations of the United States, State of Washington, or County; such areas to be used for, or closed to, certain designated purposes such as swimming, skin-diving, or aquatic events, the method of marking and designation of which shall have been made by the Skagit County Sheriff or other agency having jurisdiction.

(8) “Sheriff”: The Sheriff of Skagit County or any duly appointed deputy sheriff of Skagit County.

(9) “Structure”: Any house, boathouse or pier.

(10) “Vessel”: Any contrivance used or designated for navigation on water, including seaplanes when operated on waters of this county: PROVIDED, that for the purposes of this chapter, with the exception of SCC 9.04.130(4), the term vessel shall not include vessels engaged in interstate and foreign commerce; vessels regulated by the Washington State Public Service Commission; vessels owned and operated by the United States, any state of the political subdivision of any state; and commercial fishing vessels when operated by a person holding a commercial fishing license as provided by R.C.W. 75.28. (Ord. 17194 (part), 1998)

9.04.020 Purpose and interpretation of regulations.

It is the policy of Skagit County to promote safety and enjoyment of persons using the waters of this County. The provisions of this chapter are intended to supplement but not infringe upon the safety laws and regulations of the State of Washington and the United States. (Ord. 17194 (part), 1998)

9.04.040 Maximum speed limit.

The maximum speed limit on all waters of Skagit County shall be forty (40) miles per hour unless otherwise noted in Section 9.04.130, or when participating in an approved boating event as provided in Section 9.04.080. (Ord. 17194 (part), 1998)

9.04.050 Boat rental records.

The owner of a boat livery shall keep a record of the name and address of the person or persons hiring a vessel; the identification number thereof, if any, and departure time and expected time of return. The record shall be preserved for at least thirty days and shall be available for inspection by the Sheriff at all reasonable hours. (Ord. 17194 (part), 1998)

9.04.060 Operation in 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 otherwise restricted area: PROVIDED, that this section shall not apply to cases of emergency. (Ord. 17194 (part), 1998)

9.04.070 Boats lending assistance—Water-skiing.

In addition to the statutory requirements of R.C.W. 88.12.125 a motorboat, when in tow or otherwise assisting a person on water skis, aquaplane, or other similar contrivance on Skagit County waters:

(1) Shall be operated 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, and except when making a safe departure or landing from a float or dock, a reasonable distance shall not be less than one hundred fifty (150) feet from any swimming dock or float, boat moorage buoyed area, skin diving area, or similar restricted area;

(2) Shall operate in the following manner when towing a person on water skis, aquaplane, or similar device:

(a) While moving outward from any shoreline, float or wharf, said water skier shall leave the shoreline at an angle of not less than forty-five (45) degrees nor more than sixty (60) degrees with the shoreline on the righthand side of the water skier,

(b) While moving toward the shoreline, said water skier shall approach the shoreline at an angle of not less than forty-five (45) degrees nor more than sixty (60) degrees with the shoreline on the righthand side of the water skier,

(c) All operation shall be in a counter-clockwise manner. (Ord. 17194 (part), 1998)

9.04.080 Boating events—Fees—Permits.

The Skagit County Sheriff may authorize the holding of regattas, motorboats or other boat races, tournaments or exhibitions, water ski tournaments or other events on any waters of this County not otherwise restricted by this chapter. Persons or organizations desiring to sponsor such events shall apply to the Sheriff. 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 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 date of such events, including the dates of trial, practice or preliminary events, and such other information as the Sheriff may require to fully inform it of the nature and extent of such event. Each application shall be accompanied by a permit fee of fifty dollars ($50.00) unless the organizer has obtained a permit from an authorized agency of the United States or any other state or municipal government agency. A permit may be issued subject to the condition that the applicant will fulfill the provisions specified in the application 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 public safety.

The provisions of this section shall not exempt any person from compliance with applicable federal law or regulation. (Ord. O20090012, 2009: Ord. 17194 (part), 1998)

9.04.090 Operation of boats and seaplanes near shoreline.

It shall be unlawful for any motorboat or seaplane to be operated within 150 feet of any lake shoreline, except at its idling or “no wake” speed: PROVIDED, that motorboats, or other vessels may be operated within the 150 foot limit at a greater speed under a special permit issued under Section 9.04.080 and: PROVIDED that this Section shall be modified in accordance with Section 9.04.130. (Ord. 17194 (part), 1998)

9.04.100 Deposit of refuse.

It shall be unlawful for any person to deposit refuse, foreign matter or litter in the waters of Skagit County. (Ord. 17194 (part), 1998)

9.04.105 Skin diving—Markers.

Persons engaging in skin diving shall mark the water areas where such operations are being conducted with buoyed diver’s flags as defined in Subsection (1) of Section 9.04.010. (Ord. 17194 (part), 1998)

9.04.110 Swimming beyond “no wake” area.

Swimming activities beyond the 150 foot from shore “no wake” area, shall be accompanied by an attendant in a boat. (Ord. 17194 (part), 1998)

9.04.115 Mooring buoy.

Any boat mooring buoy placed upon the waters of this County shall be so marked that it will be clearly visible at a distance of not less than 100 yards under normal daylight visibility conditions. (Ord. 17194 (part), 1998)

9.04.120 Exemption to motorboats and seaplanes near shoreline—Permit.

Motorboats or seaplanes may be operated within 50 yards of any shoreline at a speed greater than idling speed if a special permit is obtained as provided under Section 9.04.080 of this chapter.

Each area wherein high speed operations is permitted within 50 yards of shore shall be marked by buoys, posted sign and/or other markings sufficient to warn the general public of the dangers prevalent in such area. It shall be unlawful for any person to swim or skin dive within such specially marked areas. (Ord. 17194 (part), 1998)

9.04.130 Special restrictions.

This chapter shall apply to all bodies of water in Skagit County with the following being subject to special restrictions:

(1) Lake Sixteen. It shall be unlawful for any person, partnership, firm or corporation, whether natural or artificial, to operate or assist in the operation of motor-driven power craft and power boats in excess of five (5) miles per hour on Lake Sixteen, Skagit County, Washington. In addition to other restrictions in this section, it shall be unlawful for any person, partnership, firm or corporation, whether natural or artificial, to operate or assist in the operation of any combustible fuel motor-driven power craft on Lake Sixteen, Skagit County, Washington.

(2) Lake McMurray. It shall be unlawful for any person, partnership, firm, or corporation, whether natural or artificial, to operate or assist in the operation of motor-driven power craft and power boats in excess of five (5) miles per hour on Lake McMurray, Skagit County, Washington.

(3) Clear Lake. It shall be unlawful for any person, partnership, firm, or corporation, whether natural or artificial, to operate or assist in the operation of motor-driven power craft and power boats in excess of twenty-five (25) miles per hour on Clear Lake, Skagit County, Washington. In addition to other restrictions in this section, it shall be unlawful for any person, partnership, firm or corporation, whether natural or artificial, to operate or assist in the operation of a personal watercraft on any portion of the waters of Clear Lake, Skagit County, Washington.

(4) Swinomish Channel. It shall be unlawful for any person, partnership, firm or corporation, whether natural or artificial, to operate or assist in the operation of any motor driven vessel in any part of the Swinomish Channel at a speed exceeding the “no wake speed” as defined by SCC 9.04.010(2). PROVIDED, that this section does not apply to emergency service vessels. (Ord. 17194 (part), 1998)

9.04.140 County-owned moorage facilities.

(1) Moorage Prohibited. No vessel or motorboat shall tie up or moor to the following Skagit County facilities for any period of time:

(a) Guemes Ferry Facilities. Moorage is prohibited to all piers and structures which are used for or in conjunction with the Guemes Island ferry operation. This specifically includes fender piling, breakwaters, and the passenger waiting area located at the intersection of Guemes Island Road and South Shore Road.

(b) Clear Lake Resort. Moorage is prohibited to all swimming floats at Clear Lake Park located on South Front Street.

(2) Time Limits. The following time limits are established for moorage use on the following facilities:

(a) Public Saltwater Float, Sinclair Island. A one-hour maximum time limit is established from May 1 to October 31 of each year. From November 1 to April 30 of each year, the maximum time limit shall be two hours. There shall be no commercial use of the Sinclair Island float without written consent of the Skagit County Board of Commissioners.

(b) Swinomish Channel. A one-hour maximum time limit for moorage at the public dock located on the east side of Swinomish Slough under the right-of-way for SR 20. (Ord. 17194 (part), 1998)

9.04.150 Violations of chapter—Penalty.

Violations of this chapter shall be designated as civil infractions as defined by R.C.W. 7.80 and shall be disposed of according to the provisions of that chapter, except where other provision is set forth in Skagit County Code. Such infractions shall be punishable according to a monetary schedule, which shall be established by the Skagit County District Court.

Violations of speeding sections of this chapter shall be punishable by the monetary schedule consistent with R.C.W. 46.61.400 (Speed Limit 40 MPH or Less), unless such speed would constitute charges under R.C.W. 88.12.020 Negligent or R.C.W. 88.12.025 Reckless Operation of a Vessel. (Ord. 17194 (part), 1998)

9.04.160 Severability.

If any court shall find any section of this chapter to be unconstitutional or otherwise invalid, such finding shall not effect the validity of all remaining sections of this chapter which can be given effect. (Ord. 17194 (part), 1998)