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Statutes and Penalties

Boating Under the Influence:  RCW 79A.60.040 / Reckless Boating:  RCW 79A.60.040

Sec. 1.

(1) It is unlawful for any person to operate a vessel in a reckless manner.

(2) It is unlawful for a person to operate a vessel while under the influence of intoxicating liquor, marijuana,or any drug. A person is considered to be under the influence of intoxicating liquor, marijuana, or any drug if, within two hours of operating a vessel:

(a) The person has an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or higher as shown by analysis of the person's breath or blood made under RCW 46.61.506; or

(b) The person has a THC concentration of 5.00 or higher as shown by analysis of the person's blood made under RCW 46.61.506; or

(c) The person is under the influence of or affected by intoxicating liquor, marijuana, or any drug; or

(d) The person is under the combined influence of or affected by intoxicating liquor, marijuana, and any drug.

(3) The fact that any person charged with a violation of this section is or has been entitled to use such drug under the laws of this state shall not constitute a defense against any charge of violating this section.

(4) Any person who operates a vessel within this state is deemed to have given consent, subject to the provisions of RCW 46.61.506, to a test or tests of the person's breath or blood for the purpose of determining the alcohol concentration, THC concentration, or presence of any drug in the person's breath or blood if arrested for any offense where, at the time of the arrest, the arresting officer has reasonable grounds to believe the person was operating a vessel while under the influence of intoxicating liquor, marijuana, or any drug. Neither consent nor this section precludes a police officer from obtaining a search warrant for a person's breath or blood. An arresting officer may administer field sobriety tests when circumstances permit.

(5) The test or tests of breath must be administered pursuant to RCW 46.20.308. Where the officer has reasonable grounds to believe that the person is under the influence of a drug, or where the person is incapable due to physical injury, physical incapacity, or other physical limitation, of providing a breath sample, or where the person is being treated in a hospital, clinic, doctor's office, emergency medical vehicle, ambulance, or other similar facility, a blood test must be administered by a qualified person as provided in RCW 46.61.506(5). The officer shall warn the person that if the person refuses to take the test, the person will be issued a class 1 civil infraction under RCW 7.80.120.

(6) A violation of subsection (1) of this section is a misdemeanor. A violation of subsection (2) of this section is a gross misdemeanor. In addition to the statutory penalties imposed, the court may order the defendant to pay restitution for any damages or injuries resulting from the offense.

NEW SECTION. Sec. 2. A new section is added to chapter 79A.60 RCW to read as follows:

(1) The refusal of a person to submit to a test of the alcohol concentration, THC concentration, or presence of any drug in the person's blood or breath is not admissible into evidence at a subsequent criminal trial.

(2) A person's refusal to submit to a test or tests pursuant to RCW 79A.60.040 constitutes a class 1 civil infraction under RCW 7.80.120.

Operation of vessel in a Negligent Manner:  79A.60.030.

A person shall not operate a vessel in a negligent manner.  For the purposes of this section, to “operate in a negligent manner” means operating a vessel in disregard of careful and prudent operation, or in disregard of careful and prudent rates of speed that are no greater than is reasonable and proper under the conditions existing at the point of operation, taking into account the amount and character of traffic, size of the lake or body of water, freedom from obstruction to view ahead, effects of vessel wake, and so as not to unduly or unreasonably endanger life, limb, property or other rights of any person entitled to the use of such waters.  Except as provided in  RCW 79A.60.020, a violation of this section is an infraction under chapter 7.84 RCW.

79A.60.020. Violations of chapter punishable as misdemeanor–Circumstances–Violations designated as civil infractions

(1) A violation of this chapter designated as an infraction is a misdemeanor, punishable under > RCW 9.92.030, if the current violation is the person's third violation of the same provision of this chapter during the past three hundred sixty-five days.

(2) A violation designated in this chapter as a civil infraction shall constitute a civil infraction pursuant to chapter 7.84 RCW.

79A.60.010. Definitions

Unless the context clearly requires otherwise, the definitions in this section apply throughout this chapter.

(1) “Accredited course” means a mandatory course of instruction on boating safety education that has been approved by the commission.

(2) “Boat wastes” includes, but is not limited to, sewage, garbage, marine debris, plastics, contaminated bilge water, cleaning solvents, paint scrapings, or discarded petroleum products associated with the use of vessels.

(3) “Boater” means any person on a vessel on waters of the state of Washington.

(4) “Boater education card” means a card issued to a person who has successfully completed a boating safety education test and has paid the registration fee for a serial number record to be maintained in the commission's data base.

(5) “Boating educator” means a person providing an accredited course.

(6) “Carrying passengers for hire” means carrying passengers in a vessel on waters of the state for valuable consideration, whether given directly or indirectly or received by the owner, agent, operator, or other person having an interest in the vessel.  This shall not include trips where expenses for food, transportation, or incidentals are shared by participants on an even basis.  Anyone receiving compensation for skills or money for amortization of equipment and carrying passengers shall be considered to be carrying passengers for hire on waters of the state.

(7) “Certificate of accomplishment” means a form of certificate approved by the commission and issued by a boating educator to a person who has successfully completed an accredited course.

(8) “Commission” means the state parks and recreation commission.

(9) “Darkness” means that period between sunset and sunrise.

(10) “Environmentally sensitive area” means a restricted body of water where discharge of untreated sewage from boats is especially detrimental because of limited flushing, shallow water, commercial or recreational shellfish, swimming areas, diversity of species, the absence of other pollution sources, or other characteristics.

(11) “Guide” means any individual, including but not limited to subcontractors and independent contractors, engaged for compensation or other consideration by a whitewater river outfitter for the purpose of operating vessels.  A person licensed under > RCW 77.65.480 or > 77.65.440 and acting as a fishing guide is not considered a guide for the purposes of this chapter.

(12) “Marina” means a facility providing boat moorage space, fuel, or commercial services.  Commercial services include but are not limited to overnight or live-aboard boating accommodations.

(13) “Motor driven boats and vessels” means all boats and vessels which are self propelled.

(14) “Motor vessel safety operating and equipment checklist” means a printed list of the safety requirements for a vessel with a motor installed or attached to the vessel being rented, chartered, or leased and meeting minimum requirements adopted by the commission in accordance with > RCW 79A.60.630.

(15) “Muffler” or “muffler system” means a sound suppression device or system, including an underwater exhaust system, designed and installed to abate the sound of exhaust gases emitted from an internal combustion engine and that prevents excessive or unusual noise.

(16) “Operate” means to steer, direct, or otherwise have physical control of a vessel that is underway.

(17) “Operator” means an individual who steers, directs, or otherwise has physical control of a vessel that is underway or exercises actual authority to control the person at the helm.

(18) “Observer” means the individual riding in a vessel who is responsible for observing a water skier at all times.

(19) “Owner” means a person who has a lawful right to possession of a vessel by purchase, exchange, gift, lease, inheritance, or legal action whether or not the vessel is subject to a security interest.

(20) “Person” means any individual, sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, nonprofit corporation or organization, limited liability company, firm, association, or other legal entity located within or outside this state.

(21) “Personal flotation device” means a buoyancy device, life preserver, buoyant vest, ring buoy, or buoy cushion that is designed to float a person in the water and that is approved by the commission.

(22) “Personal watercraft” means a vessel of less than sixteen feet that uses a motor powering a water jet pump, as its primary source of motive power and that is designed to be operated by a person sitting, standing, or kneeling on, or being towed behind the vessel, rather than in the conventional manner of sitting or standing inside the vessel.

(23) “Polluted area” means a body of water used by boaters that is contaminated by boat wastes at unacceptable levels, based on applicable water quality and shellfish standards.

(24) “Public entities” means all elected or appointed bodies, including tribal governments, responsible for collecting and spending public funds.

(25) “Reckless” or “recklessly” means acting carelessly and heedlessly in a willful and wanton disregard of the rights, safety, or property of another.

(26) “Rental motor vessel” means a motor vessel that is legally owned by a person that is registered as a rental and leasing agency for recreational motor vessels, and for which there is a written and signed rental, charter, or lease agreement between the owner, or owner's agent, of the vessel and the operator of the vessel.

(27) “Sewage pumpout or dump unit” means:

(a) A receiving chamber or tank designed to receive vessel sewage from a “porta-potty” or a portable container;  and

(b) A stationary or portable mechanical device on land, a dock, pier, float, barge, vessel, or other location convenient to boaters, designed to remove sewage waste from holding tanks on vessels.

(28) “Underway” means that a vessel is not at anchor, or made fast to the shore, or aground.

(29) “Vessel” includes every description of watercraft on the water, other than a seaplane, used or capable of being used as a means of transportation on the water.  However, it does not include inner tubes, air mattresses, sailboards, and small rafts or flotation devices or toys customarily used by swimmers.

(30) “Water skiing” means the physical act of being towed behind a vessel on, but not limited to, any skis, aquaplane, kneeboard, tube, or any other similar device.

(31) “Waters of the state” means any waters within the territorial limits of Washington state.

(32) “Whitewater river outfitter” means any person who is advertising to carry or carries passengers for hire on any whitewater river of the state, but does not include any person whose only service on a given trip is providing instruction in canoeing or kayaking skills.

(33) “Whitewater rivers of the state” means those rivers and streams, or parts thereof, within the boundaries of the state as listed in > RCW 79A.60.470 or as designated by the commission under > RCW 79A.60.495.

9.92.030. Punishment of misdemeanor when not fixed by statute

Every person convicted of a misdemeanor for which no punishment is prescribed by any statute in force at the time of conviction and sentence, shall be punished by imprisonment in the county jail for a maximum term fixed by the court of not more than ninety days, or by a fine in an amount fixed by the court of not more than one thousand dollars or both such imprisonment and fine.

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