Welcome to the RBAW Web Site

Our web site pages continue to be full of anouncements and updates.
Please scroll down the entire page to view all that is happening with RBAW and its members.

Click Here to read the DECEMBER 2017 report from Doug Levy, RBAW State Lobbyist

More on NOAA Supporting Raster Charts (or not)... Good News

We at RBAW appreciate all who may have responded to our email last week requesting submittal of comments on NOAA's "National Charting Plan" (see: http://link-1) before the June 1 comments deadline, as some did read a section starting page 26 as implying that NOAA support of Raster (BSB) chart data might soon disappear...  

Note that due to intense interest shown at very end of deadline, NOAA has extended comments on this policy-paper  an extra month until July 1 2017.  Here's a chance for all of us to forward our comments on how the newer Vector-chart products could be improved.  They advise: use THIS portal: register a comment at NOAA's "discrepancy" input - (same place you advise them of an error in a chart!) here:  http://link-2  -- fill in, at box "Other products" = Vector-chart improvement, then at box: "description of discrepancy" advise your comments.   Thanks!

BACKGROUND: Apparently there WAS a flurry of comments received from many sources, before the June 1 deadline, as NOAA published very quickly, on 5/31/2017, this "clarification" that the policy to move away from support of  "paper-chart" format is long-range and will take decades -- AND that NOAA is committed to make the newer ENC "Vector"-format charting products more "user-friendly".  (see: http://link-3  - and note their comment: "the ENC vector chart is still relatively new and needs some improvement. We recognize that in many cases, the ENC is not as easy to use as its paper equivalent"

Further re-assurance comes from Ben Ellison in his 5/31 electronics blog Panbo, based on his direct communication with John Nyberg, Chief of the Marine Chart Division at NOAA : http://link-4

AND this post at BoatUS Foundation also quells anxieties: http://link-5

Update on No Discharge Zone for ALL of Puget Sound

EPA did indeed “publish” – in the Federal Register , February 21 - their declaration that there are sufficient pump-out facilities, which gives the “green-light” for Washington’s Dept of Ecology  to establish an all-Puget Sound NDZ.  We had hoped that such declaration by EPA would fall under the “60-day” ruling that end-of-term regulatory decisions would be reviewed by the US Congress under the "Congressional Review Act" but apparently this decision was viewed more as an "adjudicative decision", thus not subject to such review.  It appears that the EPA decided to count “pumper trucks” coming to docks to pump-out the commercial craft, to declare that there WERE “sufficient” commercial pump-outs… a very expensive process, not “proven” to be executable! There still is more effort from the Commercial Vessels impacted to block this but once published it’s really difficult to roll it back.  There may be an opportunity for a “Request for Reconsideration” letter – we’ll add our support and signature where/when appropriate. 

Failing THAT “stop”, we then must work with DoE to have a “rational” roll-out – first indications are that this may have a lengthy roll-out, maybe as much as five years until fully implemented.  RBAW officers will keep abreast of this roll-out especially to be SURE there is adequate time for retrofitting recreational vessels that do not have holding tanks but only type I treatment plants aboard.  We certainly hope that DoE staff is rather more “open” at THIS point in their administrative rule-making process to hearing – and actually incorporating – the vessel-owner’s concerns about a feasible and fair roll-out.

There was some discussion to push US Congress to re-define the level of treatment that Type I and Type II onboard treatment plants must meet, as the original limits have now been far exceeded by newer technology – in fact, back in 2002, there was a congressional bill (the “Saxton Bill”) that would have tightened up Type I effluent from 1000 to 10 Fcu/100ml, which the manufacturers felt was already achievable (100 times better than law mandates now!).  This effluent right out the discharge-pipe from your vessel, is BETTER than the quality standards that the State requires at swimming beaches and over shellfish beds, even before dispersion and dilution is factored in!  If such “tightening” is established, maybe there will be no further “push” for NDZ’s – but not sure if it could retroactively affect our Puget Sound situation….   Similarly, there is hope that the “Clean Water Act” could be modified to accept NDZ’s only when a scientific/technical demonstration of “need” is established.  Remember, the current Act has no such “scientific” justification and that’s how DoE rammed through their “declaration of need” despite our Marine Alliance scientific studies debunking their fallacious flow-modeling of treated effluent’s impact.  Not sure if there still exists energy to proceed along these longer-range avenues, if indeed the battle with EPA has been lost… will keep you advised.

Problems with Vessel Titling & Registration
RBAW recently published information in this article space regarding vessel titling and registration under the Washington State Department of Licensing’s (DOL’s) new computer system.  After further investigation, and meeting with key DOL staff on January 12, 2017 RBAW is providing an update on this issue. Here’s what we learned:

(Updated Added March 2, 2017...See Below)

The Code of Federal Regulations (33 CFR 181.25) was established back in 1972. It is a 12-digit format for Hull Identification Numbers (HINs).  Federal regulations in discussion since 2010, and now mandated to be implemented in 2017 (see: 33 CFR 174.16), requires ALL State titling/registration agencies to confirm that every registered vessel has a HIN that conforms exactly to one of the three allowed formats – see this third-party web-page at http://www.boatsafe.com/nauticalknowhow/hin.htm -for  concise explanation of what FORMATS are allowed.

Of the roughly 240,000 registered vessels in Washington, DOL has scanned their files and identified approximately 29,000 vessel s (nearly one in eight!) that do not appear to have compliant HINs.  DOL will be individually contacting each of these affected vessel owners directly to advise them of this situation, by letter or e-mail – in plenty of time to rectify the non-compliant HIN before the June 2017 registration renewal cycle – or immediately, for vessels undergoing re-titling.

What if you have a non-compliant HIN?
You’ll need to obtain a new title and registration, with a State-assigned new HIN, and pay the standard applicable fees ($21).  Then you must attest (by signing the new registration) that the new HIN is properly displayed on your vessel.

Which vessel transactions are affected? When?
Any title or registration transactions, or address updates (or any other vessel transactions, excluding lienholder changes) are affected. This DOES include all registration renewals, with next cycle coming up June 2017. When such transactions are conducted, DOL’s new computer system will identify the non-compliant HIN if you haven’t gone thru the new-title process to change it already, and force re-titling and issue a new HIN.

What do vessel owners need to do?
If you receive notification that your vessel’s HIN is “non-compliant”, the vessel owner must visit a vehicle licensing office (VLO) in person. If you attempt to renew online, the system will stop you and direct you to visit a VLO in person. For these transactions, DOL does not require the old title in-hand, in order to issue the new title. 

If you believe your HIN as embossed on, or attached to, the vessel’s hull does meet the exact format standards (but for example, the correct-format HIN  - as seen on the vessel - is not on the title/registration due to clerical error or incorrect original reporting), please bring a photo or a pencil rubbing of your current HIN to the office, and DOL will attempt to process your transaction for you, retaining the proper HIN. If DOL made an error in its records, no fee will be charged to you.

The new HIN will typically have the state-issued prefix (first three digits of “WNZ”).

DOL will provide each recipient of a new HIN, very specific instructions where and how this new HIN must be attached to the vessel, to meet Federal requirements.

This is certainly a major undertaking for our State (and all other States), to meet this new Federal Mandate!  Please assist Washington State Department of Licensing in every way you can during this fulfillment cycle – THEY are not the instigator of this new requirement! 


RBAW (and NMTA, State Parks Boating Law administrator, and marine titling agencies) are now in every-three-weeks conference calls to DOL about the rollout of their HIN-format-compliance project – here are the most recent developments, amending above information:

  1. DOL will NOT charge any fee for re-titling to assign a compliant HIN. This could save the Recreational Boating community as much as $600,000! – we are pleased to have pushed for this result on your behalf, and duly appreciate DOL’s generosity in absorbing this “unfunded mandate”.

  2. DOL is NOT reviewing compliance for “Documented” vessels, as (according careful reading of the driving CFR) that task rightly falls to the Federal Documentation Center – we have no information yet when or if that organization will issue new Federal “Documents” = titles, with new compliant HINs assigned.

  3. For pre-1972 vessels (before the legal mandate to have a HIN), DOL will accept ANY format of original HIN, even just a one-or-two-digit manufacturer’s number… but if there is no HIN at all on the State title/registration, then DOL will assign a “WNZ”-format HIN.

RBAW will do our best to keep you advised on new developments.

Aquatic Lands Lease Guide

Will you be renewing a lease with Department of Natural Resources on aquatics land?
Seeking a new lease?
Seeking to make modifications that impact your current lease?

Check out this leasing guide from DNR...

RBAW and our colleagues from the Northwest Marine Trade Association have instituted quarterly meetings with senior staff at the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). One thing we have asked for is a "no surprises" policy on aquatic lands leases. We've also encouraged DNR to meet early with those who are renewing leases or establishing new ones. We pushed for DNR to produce a guidance document to give Yacht Clubs and other boating organizations a sense of what to expect with aquatic lands leases - and DNR has produced the guide that we have linked here.

Please note in particular the "step by step" information leasing on Page 3, as well as the information that "Most often, changes will not be required until docks or other structures are due for replacement." We have also discussed with DNR the 'stewardship' items on Page 4 of the leasing guide. While they represent the types of desired outcomes DNR aims to achieve with leases, we have been assured they are not rigid, "thou shalt" prescriptive requirements, and that DNR can and will negotiate trade-offs with lessees that are site-specific, realistic, and achievable. Remember, DNR is acting in an "ownership" role of these State lands, not as a regulatory agency hamstrung by rigid rules.

DNR also provided four samples leases with identifying info redacted which you may find helpful...

Lease 1 Lease 2 Lease 3 Lease 4

We hope this leasing guide is helpful and encourage you to contact RBAW Board Officers, or state lobbyist Doug Levy (Levy4@msn.com) with any questions or concerns!