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Subject:                                                                   RBAW Monthly Lobbyist Report - August 2022


RBAW Monthly Lobbyist Report

June - August 2022




Message from Doug Levy, RBAW Lobbyist

While it was slow to get underway, we had a glorious run of summer weather that continues up through my writing of this report. I hope you all enjoyed it and got on your boats early and often! I have had an enjoyable summer – but with my RBAW hat on, I would say it was a frenetic one as well. 

Please read below for what we've been working on this summer. 

Thank you,

Doug Levy

RBAW Lobbyist



We're asking boaters to please share their input on the following two items.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is seeking public input on rules for vessels operating near Southern Resident killer whales to inform legislative report.  Recreational Boaters can share feedback on the rules through an online public survey, available through the month of September.

WDFW is also looking for participants for an upcoming virtual focus group for recreational boaters to give feedback on the state regulations for boating near Southern Resident killer whales. People can sign up via this online form.  



Lake Union Water Safety Initiative “#MindTheZone”

Before our summer hiatus, I shared with you all that RBAW had been selected by the state’s Recreation & Conservation Office (RCO) to use half of a $300,000 allocation in the 2022 Operating Budget for onshore education, awareness, and outreach work to promote a safe environment on Lake Union for motorized and non-motorized vessels, seaplanes, and more on the waters of Lake Union.


RBAW created and launched the #MindTheZone campaign reminding lake users to be aware of their surroundings while on Lake Union, and to consider moving 200 feet east or west of the series of advisory buoys when they light up - signaling a seaplane is about to take off and land.

The reviews of our safety and awareness work have been overwhelmingly positive and both Harbor Air and Kenmore Air has seen behavioral changes by lake users near the buoys, and as such Kenmore Air added incremental flights in the afternoons that started mid-August.  Due to these successes and importance of water safety, we plan to seek additional city or state funding to continue the safety and awareness initiative beyond the current June 30, 2023, end date.

Read more about #MindTheZone

Watch #MindTheZone Video's




RBAW’s 2023 Federal, State Legislative, and Local Priorities

With summer almost over we now set our sights on defining RBAW's 2023 priorities and our efforts are well underway. The pressures on recreational boating are great and our advocacy is more important now than ever - as well as the chance to increase boating opportunities for all to enjoy. With help and direction from RBAW Board Executive officers and RBAW Legislative Committee Members, we have a first draft of these priorities. We look forward to your feedback!

DRAFT 2023 Federal, State Legislative & Local Priorities



Watercraft Excise Tax - Update on DOR Depreciation Schedule Advocacy

Before summer came along, we shared that the state Department of Revenue (DOR) had filed a new rulemaking notice on May 12 to again update the Watercraft Excise Tax Depreciation Schedule that had last been updated at the end of 2021. 


Jumping into action, we re-established our coalition to advocate before DOR, put a letter together advancing our interests, and split the costs with the Northwest Marine Trade Association (NMTA) to hire the Anacortes-based firm of BST Associates to do a detailed analysis of depreciation schedules. We then organized having the principals from BST (Paul Sorenson, Brian Winningham) testify at a July 19 public hearing on the DOR proposal, and we followed that up with an Aug. 3 meeting with DOR. It is safe to say that RBAW is pushing very hard to seek out a fairer depreciation schedule for older vessels in particular (those 14 years old or more).

We have made some progress with DOR lengthening its depreciation schedules out to 20 years and recognizing that vessel values continue to depreciate as vessels age. But the year-to-year depreciation remains fairly minimal and is certainly resulting in higher values and assessments than we think is necessary. As we wait for DOR to issue an updated rulemaking draft in September, see page pg. 7 of the proposed rulemaking for the schedule as well as a link to the BST analysis on vessel depreciation and recommendations below.

DOR Vessel Depreciation Schedule Analysis 6-21-2022 draft v3.pdf



Andrews Bay – and our continued efforts regarding Seattle Harbor Patrol

For a second consecutive summer, RBAW led an initiative to encourage safe and responsible boating on Andrews Bay, complete with “ambassadors” from the Rainier Yacht Club. Kudos to Board member and Legislative Committee Member Doug Schumacher, Rainier PC McCaulay Haney, and so many others from Rainier who led successful ambassadors events at Andrews Bay!



It's also worth mentioning, connected to Andrews Bay, that our continued work on the need for safe and respectful behavior, and our contacts with key neighborhood leaders from Seward Park, helped lead the Seattle Police Department to set up a series of weekend emphasis patrols over the summer.  This included heightened attention to Andrews Bay. Where that was welcome news, our efforts to get additional full-time staff and more working boats for Harbor Patrol remain in play.




Lower Snake River Dam Removal – A Partial Victory


On Aug. 25, we achieved a partial victory with the release of the Lower Snake River Dams: Benefits Replacement Study report (see below). While the report concluded that eventual replacement of the four Lower Snake River dams might still be needed in the future, it was accompanied by a statement from U.S. Senator Patty Murray and Governor Jay Inslee that cast significant doubt on that happening anytime soon.

Lower Snake River Dams Benefit Replacement Report

Seattle Times Article - Inslee, Murray statements



Mobile pump-out Funding

The availability of mobile and fixed pump-out facilities for recreational boaters is at the top of our priority list.  RBAW, NMTA, and several other stakeholders are coalescing around an effort to ask the 2023 Legislature for State Capital Budget funding to supplement the limited federal pass-through dollars that the State of Washington gets through what is called “Clean Vessel Act” funding. We will be part of a meeting in September where numerous groups will try to ‘size’ a 2023 Capital Budget request for additional funds to expand mobile pump-out service to more waterways throughout the state.

Where to Pump-out in WA



Lakebay Marina Update from the RBAW Marine Parks Conservancy

It has been a momentous summer for the Lakebay project, kicked off by a June press conference featuring Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz, RBAW President Bob Wise, and others. The event drew coverage from KOMO-TV, the Key Peninsula News and others. As summer winds to a close, we are working with the Department of Natural Resources on an upcoming Boating Facilities Program grant application for up to $2 million and developing a separate 2023-25 state Capital Budget earmark request for up to $1 million, all in the name of starting the redevelopment and renovation of boating facilities at Lakebay. Stay tuned!

Read Key Peninsula News Article


Meeting with State Parks Director and Senior Staff

Back on June 14, several of RBAW’s leaders had a very successful meeting with the first female Director ever for Washington State Parks, Diana Dupuis. Lakebay Marina, water safety, the need for more mooring buoys, mobile pump-out funding, and more were on the docket. Director Dupuis expressed a lot of interest in regular contact with RBAW and in taking her own tour of the Lakebay Marina site.  A good start!


Press Release on new Director Duana Dupuis


SeaFair – RBAW helps facilitate a last-minute deal in place for mobile pump-outs

In the weeks leading up to SeaFair, there was a real danger that mobile pump-out service might not be in place for Lake Washington. Whereas SeaFair had always covered the cost of a barge that acted as a holding tank for pumped-out sewage, the 2022 festival had a drastically depleted budget and staff and the barge was one of its cost cutbacks. Luckily, we were able to connect Pumpout Seattle with a local marina and they creatively implemented a process that allowed the mobile pump-outs to occur during SeaFair.  We will work directly with SeaFair CEO and Board to have a better solution going forward, but it was nice to pull this 2022 rabbit out of the hat at the 11th hour for recreational boaters attending the iconic SeaFair event.


RBAW’s Work with DNR – across several fronts

While RBAW interacts regularly with several state natural resource agencies our paths are crossing frequently with DNR these days. We are working in partnership with the Agency on the redevelopment and renovation of Lakebay Marina; we are poised to support a “derelict structure removal” bill and funding that DNR is pursuing (with some suggested refinements); and we are pushing DNR and Washington State Parks to work with us on a game plan to get more mooring buoys in place throughout Puget Sound and the state as a whole.


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