RBAW Monthly Newsletter

- June 2023 -

Meet Katie, New RBAW Executive Director

After a very comprehensive search, Katie Bohocky, CAE has been selected as the RBAW's first Executive Director.

Katie has been working as an Executive Director for numerous professional non-profit organizations for 17 years, and 4 years as Vice President of Association Management, Inc. (AMI). Katie is keenly attuned to the needs of professional organizations to foster continued growth, member engagement, community support, developing sponsorship revenue, and sustain financial health. 

Katie earned the Certified Association Executive (CAE) credential in 2017, which is the marker of a committed association professional who has demonstrated the wide range of knowledge essential to manage an association in today’s challenging environment. 

Katie lives in Gig Harbor with her husband, Ken, 13-year-old daughter, Amelia, and 10-year-old son, Branton. Katie is fortunate to have a twin sister who has a boat and brings her family along on boating adventures. Our kids are PNW through and through. They love swimming in the cold salt water, paddleboarding, adventuring the beaches, digging up clams, and cooking them right on the beach. There is something about being on the water that makes every view and every adventure better. It is stated that humans have a "blue mind" - meaning that our brains are hardwired to react positively to water. Accordingly, being near, on, in, or under water makes us happier, healthier, and more relaxed, both mentally and physically.   

Katie is excited to be a part of RBAW's voice of NW boating - advocacy, awareness and preservation and growth of boating opportunities. 

It's Time to Play!

You've made it through the cold winter and wet spring. Now is the best time to get out there and enjoy boating in the Northwest. Here are a few helpful tips about where to boat, how to stay safe, and more: 

Visit a new boating spot

Cruising into Canada

Boating Safety

Stay a Safe Distance from Whales

Canadian Whale Sanctuary Zones

We are all happy that traveling to Canada by boat has largely returned to pre-COVID activity and as a reminder, Canada has closed specific marine areas along Pender and Saturna Islands to boat traffic to protect the Southern Resident Killer Whales that feed in these waters. Whale sanctuary zones are actively monitored and enforced, and the fines for operating a vessel within a zone can be significant.

The first restricted area to be aware of is along South Pender. This area extends about a half-mile from Wallace Point at Bedwell Harbour and then runs north about four and a half miles to Thieves Bay. Bedwell Harbour is a popular location to clear into Canada so be careful as you leave Bedwell and continue to your next Gulf Islands destination!

Around the eastern tip of Saturna Island is the second restricted area. The closure area begins on the east side of Narvaez Bay, extends for a half mile, then turns up and in to form a closure zone around East Point on the tip of the island.

The restricted areas are marked on the latest navigation charts, so this would be an excellent time to check your charts and make sure they are up to date. For more information and maps for all of our Washington and Canadian whale sanctuary zones please visit: https://www.bewhalewise.org/know-the-zones/


If you're on Lake Union this summer, please be aware of the seaplane advisory buoys and move 200ft east or west if they’re flashing yellow. For more information, please check out rbaw.org/mindthezone and have a safe and fun summer!!

Legislative Updates

The state legislative session ended on Sunday, April 23rd, and although the Governor announced a special session to follow, no recreational boating issues were raised. 

Watercraft Excise Tax Discussions Ongoing 

RBAW continues to work closely with Department of Revenue and BST Associates to explore a plan to fix fundamental inequities in the Depreciation Schedule being used to assess boaters the 1⁄2 of 1 percent Watercraft Excise Tax they pay each year. The Department of Revenue heard a series of “key concerns” with the Depreciation Schedule, chiefly that it over-inflates the value of older vessels purchased 14-15 or more years ago. Data is currently being prepared by BST Associates to develop a proposed fair market value depreciation schedule for vessels that have been owned for 15 years going out to 25 or 30 years. Work will continue during the summer months.

Legislation Relating to Southern Resident Orcas from Vessels (SB 5371) 

With recent passage of the Southern Resident Killer Whale (SRKW) 1000 yd buffer zone bill, RBAW now begins the work to support the task force in determining awareness and education details to ensure boaters are prepared.

Unfortunately, when Governor Inslee signed this bill into law on May 16th, he vetoed the 2 sections that would have notified all registered boat owners via mail in 2024 with their tab’s renewal – as well as directives to have the WDFW work with their Canadian counterparts to develop a transboundary plan for these new regulations (lawmakers did not include funding in the bill).  RBAW will continue to work through legislative channels and explore other options to allocate funding for these important areas, to include ways of notifying boaters of the location of SRKW’s.

RBAW’s efforts helped to improve the bill at multiple steps of the 2023 legislative process, including adding officer discretion to offer educational material in lieu of issuing an infraction, the establishment a stakeholder workgroup to develop outreach and education strategies for best practices for boaters, and delayed implementation so that boaters can be educated on the new distance requirements. The Department of Fish & Wildlife is soliciting for the newly created Orca Regulations Communications Advisory Group (workgroup), which has to include representatives from the recreational boating and commercial whale watching industries (and various others). RBAW member, and Tacoma Yacht Club RBAW Delegate, Dave Willis will be the RBAW representative on this advisory group, if other members are interested in supporting this work please email info@rbaw.org

Reminder – Updated Schedule for Maintenance on WA State Parks Buoys
Be aware of upcoming maintenance closures. For additional mooring buoy repair work schedule updates and future work to improve mooring opportunities, visit the WA State Parks website.

May 1 - 3 San Juan Islands
Parks affected: Matia Island , Patos Island , Spencer Spit, Turn Island and Stuart Island 

June 12 - 16 Central Puget Sound
Parks affected: Blake Island, Illahee, Fort Flagler, Mystery Bay, Fort Worden, Fort Townsend.

June 25 - 30 South and North Puget Sound
Parks affected: Saltwater, Cutts Island, Eagle Island, Hope Island (Mason), Jarrell Cove, Joemma Beach, Kopachuck, McMicken Island, Penrose Point, Stretch Island, Tolmie, Skagit Island, Hope Island (Skagit).

Our newsletter takes a summer hiatus in July and August, we'll see you again in September.  Have a wonderful summer on the water!

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