RBAW Policy Positions


Please note that the Board may update this information frequently - current version 11/30/21

Monthly Report from doug Levy, State Lobbyist

Download  PDF of latest Monthly Report or read below:

TO:          RBAW Board

FROM:  Doug Levy – 1/2/2022

RE:           Report from State Lobbyist – DECEMBER 2021

Hello and Happy New Year, everyone! I hope everyone managed to both enjoy the holidays – and stay warm and safe – as snow and ice and cold temperatures battered most of our state as a final curtain call to a chaotic 2021.  Here are some of the issues we were working on as the year drew to a close:

  • Lakebay Marina: On the final day of 2021, the purchase and acquisition of Lakebay became official! A lot of work lies ahead to plan the buildout of this historic facility, to gather community input on what they want to see, and to figure out how future improvements should be phased and funded.  Lakebay was made possible in large part through the gritty, painstaking, and never-say-die work of RBAW’s 501(c)3 Marine Parks Conservancy, and future donations are needed to support the work of the Conservancy in taking on future challenges! It’s just a few clicks away and you can start here: RBAW Marine Parks Conservancy.  By the way, please see the attached Dec. 29 news article in The News Tribune/Gateway News with wonderful comments by Bob Wise on the journey to acquire Lakebay and the generational benefits of keeping this facility in public hands: State agency buys historic Lakebay Marina for $1.6 million | Tacoma News Tribune (thenewstribune.com
  • 2022 Legislative Session Ahead – Please do a “Save the Day” on your calendars for the RBAW/NMTA “Day at the Legislature” on Jan. 18 - RBAW members received the formal Event invite on 1/7/22 so check your inbox.   Registered attendee's will receive detailed agenda, meeting links and "Talking Points” to be used to underscore our 2022 priorities: 2022 RBAW Leg Reg Priorities 20211130.pdf.  We hope you can join us, please register today!!  We are now just a week away from the Monday, Jan. 10 opening day of the 60-day, 2022 Session of the State Legislature.
  • DNR’s Derelict Vessel Removal Program – bill to enhance, stabilize, and sustain funding:  We now have a bill number for the 2022 “Agency Request” legislation we are working on with the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to enhance, stabilize, and sustain funding for the Derelict Vessel Removal Program (DVRP). A link to Senate Bill 5598, being prime-sponsored by Sen. Liz Lovelett (D-Anacortes/40th Dist.), is here: 5598.pdf (wa.gov). As we have noted, this bill would redirect up to $7.5 million (25 percent) of the Watercraft Excise Tax that goes into the General Fund and instead use it toward the Derelict Vessel Removal Program. We succeeded in helping to craft bill language that steps up efforts to remove vessels from non-public lands, to devote more funding toward the Vessel Turn-In Program (VTIP), and to do more work to move toward a full vessel recycling program in the future.
  • Watercraft Excise Tax Depreciation Schedule: Just before the Christmas holiday, and days in advance of the Jan. 1, 2022 date on which a new rulemaking is to take effect, we submitted a petition letter from RBAW and eight (8) other organizations/entities challenging the Department of Revenue’s rulemaking for the adverse impact it will have on vessels purchased 14 or more years ago by boat owners. A big thanks to Paul Sorenson and others at BST Associates for the data collection that helps make our case.  Click HERE for our petition letter, HERE for the BST Associates data and HERE for a statement of BST's qualifications.  
  • Funding in Governor’s proposed 2022 Supplemental Operating Budget ($300,000) to help minimize conflicts on Lake Union between vessels and seaplane landings/takeoffs: Last month, we let all of you know that with the reopening of the Canadian border in both directions, Kenmore Air is restarting service from Lake Union to Vancouver, B.C. That has the airline wondering how to best ensure the safety of the takeoff/landing zone they depend upon, especially in warmer months when more and more boaters, kayakers, and stand-up paddleboarders than ever before fill the waters of Lake Union. We have had multiple discussions with Kenmore Air representatives and support the funding/intent of a provision they worked to include in Governor Inslee’s proposed 2022 Supplemental Operating Budget. Here’s the description of the funding, which would be for marine safety grant monies to be administered by the Recreation & Conservation Office (RCO):  $300K general fund state is provided solely for the purpose of motorized and non-motorized boater education and outreach on Lake Union, with a specific goal of preventing boater and airplane conflicts on the lake during peak recreation season. Funds are to be made available to appropriate local government or federal government agencies, or appropriate non-profit organization.
  •  Boating Safety Legislation being introduced and heard during Week 1 of Session – HB 1707: Kudos to our Treasurer Loyd Walker, who has long been an active member of the State Parks Boating Programs Advisory Council (BPAC), for alerting us to the filed bill number and scheduled 8 a.m. Friday, Jan. 14 hearing on what will be House Bill 1707: 1707.pdf (wa.gov). HB 1707, prime-sponsored by House Community & Economic Development Committee Chair Cindy Ryu (D-Shoreline/32nd Dist.), would stipulate with respect to human-powered vessels under 12 feet, “a person may not operate or occupy a kayak, canoe, or stand-up paddleboard on the waters of this state unless the person is wearing a personal flotation device approved by the United States coast guard while the kayak, canoe, or stand-up paddleboard is underway.” The bill includes several exemptions, including a Tribal exemption that, Loyd reports, has triggered some concern among BPAC Members. I am preliminarily preparing to testify that this approach is one RBAW largely supports. More to come as we get closer to the hearing date!

Thank you,

Doug Levy

RBAW Lobbyist

Archives of past monthly legislative reports

10-5-2021 RBAW Monthly Lobbyist Report - SEPT 2021.pdf

5-4-2021 RBAW Monthly Lobbyist Report - APRIL 2021 WA Version.pdf

3-31-2021 RBAW Monthly Lobbyist Report - MARCH 2021.pdf

3-3-2021 RBAW Monthly Lobbyist Report - FEB 2021 Website version 20210305.pdf

2-3-2021 RBAW Monthly Lobbyist Report - JAN 2021(1).pdf

1-5-21 RBAW Monthly Lobbyist Report.pdf

12-1-2020 RBAW Monthly Lobbyist Report - NOVEMBER 2020 .pdf

9-27-2020 RBAW Report for SEPTEMBER 2020 -n- Summer 2020.pdf

6-3-2020 RBAW Report for MAY 2020.pdf

4-1-2020 RBAW Report for MARCH 2020.pdf

Recent marine / recreational boating involvement

11/19/20 - Learn how to get Grants for your Boating Facility

11/12/2020 - RBAW/NMTA Comments on Whale Watching Restrictions

10/2/2020 - SUBJECT:  National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) - RE: Seeking your help – with a matching-dollar offer by RBAW -- in combating National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) ‘guidance’ which makes marina upgrades cost-prohibitive 

9/21/2020 - SUBJECT: Commercial and Recreational Boaters Asked To “Take The Pledge” to Protect Pregnant Orcas

Southern Resident Pledge Release Final.pdf

Yacht Club - orca pledge 09022020C.pdf

7/16/2020 - SUBJECT:  Urging that in evaluation of Seattle Police Department budget cutbacks, the city ensure the survival of a Seattle Harbor Patrol

ColdWater Safety

We’ve received the following information from the State Parks Boating Program regarding cold water safety. Most waterways are lethally cold and they want folks to be aware and prepared before heading out boating or paddling!

News coverage:


Read the full report give by our VP of Government Affairs and our Lobbyist.

RBAW and the Watercraft Excise Tax

The State of Washington has unfairly saddled recreational boaters with an excise tax that is not collected in a similar manner from any other “users group.” Annual vessel registration fees include a tax equal to ½ of 1% of the market value of any recreational boat. These taxes are simply absorbed into the general fund of Washington State, and are in no way earmarked for improvements to boating infrastructure.

Other owners of recreational conveyances are not asked to pay a tax based on market value. For example, private aircraft pay a very small flat fee based entirely upon the type of aircraft. Excise taxes for aircraft are generally under $200 per year, and any private helicopter (regardless of value) pays a flat $90 renewal charge. A private helicopter worth $3-million pays a $90 excise tax, while the owner of a $3-million yacht would pay $15,000 annually.

Copyright © 2019 Recreational Boating Association of Washington - All Rights Reserved.

Recreational Boating Association of Washington
P.O. Box 17063
Seattle, WA 98127

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software