For years, it’s been clear that the state has had a big problem with derelict vessels — the hundreds of ramshackle and/or abandoned boats that dot our waterways.
Today, Gov. Jay Inslee signed legislation addressing some parts of the problem. The new law (ESHB 1245) establishes a permanent (if relatively small) funding stream for the state’s Derelict Vessel Removal Program through a small surcharge on boat registrations; gives the Department of Ecology authority to board troubled boats; makes registration-related offenses a civil infraction; and requires owners of vessels older than 40 years and longer than 65 feet to obtain a vessel inspection before transferring ownership.
The legislation had broad public and bipartisan support (thanks, perhaps, to messy and expensive incidents in the Columbia River and on Penn Cove.) But one thing isn’t going to change: A rusty old boat is still an expensive proposition.