RBAW Policy Positions


Please note that the Board may update this information frequently.

Monthly Report from doug Levy, State Lobbyist

The RBAW Board of Directors meet on September 9th - our focus was on 2022 planning so we did not produce a monthly lobbyist report for September.  We will be distributing the DRAFT view shortly!

Download  PDF of latest Monthly Report or read below:

TO:        RBAW Board

FROM:  Doug Levy – 6/2/2021

RE:        Report from State Lobbyist – MAY 2021

A busy month of May ended with a spectacular splash of sunshine, both weather-wise and for all of us at RBAW – as the Lakebay Marina acquisition became signed, sealed, and official. It was the highlight of a month where we saw smooth sailing on some issues, bumpiness on others. Here is my report:

  • Lakebay Marina: When the Governor signed the 2021-23 Capital Budget (SHB 1080), it became official: the $1.776 million Boating Facilities Grant for acquiring and planning the future of the Lakebay Marina was good to go!  A week and a half later, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and RBAW’s Marine Parks Conservancy issued a joint news release.  I have linked the news release – and the most recent press coverage in the Gateway News and Tacoma News Tribune, here. As President Bob Wise indicated in his message to all RBAW Members, it is a moment to celebrate – but with the knowledge that a lot of hard work lies ahead on the Lakebay planning process, future improvements, and much more.
$1.7 million grant will fund rehab of rundown Lakebay Marina | Tacoma News Tribune (thenewstribune.com)
DNR, RBAW Conservancy to Renovate Historic Lakebay Marina | WA - DNR
  • Andrews Bay: As summer approaches, and boating season kicks into its highest gear, RBAW and the Northwest Marine Trade Association (NMTA) are teaming up with the City of Seattle on a public education campaign encouraging all boaters to be respectful in how they use this jewel of a site at the southwest end of Lake Washington, adjacent to the Seward Park neighborhood. We will be talking more about the public education effort – tentatively branded as “Exercise Safe Play in the Bay…So We Can Stay in the Bay.” 
  • Seattle Harbor Patrol:  We expect discussions over the future of the Seattle Harbor Patrol to heat up in June with the release of a Seattle City Council-directed report on Patrol operations. In advance of that, the North Seattle Industrial Association (NSIA) held a May 25 forum at which Lt. Abe Barker discussed some of the severe budget limitations his units are operating under.  As one prime example, he noted that SHP is hard-pressed to do much more on Lake Washington than respond to emergencies.  It was encouraging to hear Port of Seattle, maritime business owners, and others coalesce around the importance of the Harbor Patrol and pledge to fight for funding. I will meet with leaders of NSIA and NMTA in early June to plot out further strategy.
  • Olympia Yacht Club Request for Assistance:  The OYC has been engaged for quite some time in a Capitol Lake Management process led by the State Department of Enterprise Services (DES).  DES is working with a variety of stakeholders, including some from environmental organizations which want to turn the lake back into a natural estuary.  The major problem with such an idea is it would do away with the whole Percival Landing and Budd Bay area of Olympia, not to mention undermining the very ground on which the OYC sits.  As DES prepares to issue a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) at the end of June, the OYC has asked for RBAW’s help on the advocacy side.
  • Derelict Vessel Removal Program:  Not a ton to report from May as we continue to work with DNR on developing a sustainable funding initiative for the DVRP.  At this point, we are most focused on dedicating some of the Watercraft Excise Tax that boaters already pay and which currently goes into the General Fund without being focused on any recreational boating purposes. We also want to see an increase in the tax paid by large commercial vessels that drive most of the major vessel retrieval costs incurred by the DVRP.
  • Southern Resident Killer Whales (Orcas) – San Juan County Discussions: San Juan County officials have kick-started some discussions around mitigation measures that can be taken to better protect Orcas on the west side of San Juan Island. Both NMTA and RBAW participated in these discussions and at this juncture, it looks like one idea is to expand the use of “go-slow zones” in the area – something we believe is consistent with 2019 legislation passed in Olympia.
  • Clean Vessel Act Grants: Washington State Parks will formally announce these in June – but in the meantime, VP for Government Affairs Steve Finney (who sat on a grant evaluation committee) and myself have gotten a sneak preview of the grant awards. I can tell you that we are pleased by the width and breadth of the 11 grant-funding awards but concerned that no applications came forward for mobile pump-out services on Lake Washington. Stay tuned.
  • Montlake Bridge Repairs:  My thanks to all of you who have worked with the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) on an announcement, messaging, signage, and more, as the WSDTO prepares to repair the Montlake Bridge in August and early September. A link to the one-page flyer that has been developed to detail what will happen Aug. 9-Sept. 3, is here:
Boater flyer_PDF.pdf
  • Efforts with National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) on federal permitting for marina upgrades:  In May, RBAW, NMTA, NMFS and folks at DNR had a several-hour-long meeting to discuss a “mitigation calculator” that NMFS has developed to calculate the cost of mitigation measures for those looking to do marina upgrades and replacements.  The calculator appears to spit out cost-prohibitive figures and we want to better understand all the assumptions that are going into determining mitigation and costs. We will now look to meet with Congressmen Derek Kilmer and Rick Larsen as we plow ahead on this frustrating issue.

Thank you,

Doug Levy

Archives of past monthly legislative reports

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