Governor Inslee signs bipartisan bill to further address the problems of derelict and abandoned vessels
OLYMPIA – Surrounded by legislators and a diverse group of supportive stakeholders, Gov. Jay Inslee today signed legislation that builds on the state’s commitment to prevent derelict vessels from becoming a burden to the citizens of Washington State.
The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) requested the legislation (2SHB 2457) that will further protect Washington’s waters and the public, foster responsible and accountable vessel ownership, provide an additional funding source for removing derelict vessels, and encourage removal and deconstruction before vessels become a problem.
“DNR’s Derelict Vessel Removal Program is an award-winning model for the rest of the nation,” said Gov. Jay Inslee. “This legislation is significant, not only because of what the bill does, but how it galvanized both sides of the aisle and a diverse group of stakeholders to develop workable solutions.”
The process to draft and shape this legislation began last summer with the convening of a work group, as directed by last year’s derelict vessel legislation (ESHB 1245). The work group consisted of legislators and state agency staff who drew up a list of possible solutions to the problems that derelict and abandoned vessels create. The list was then presented to a diverse group of stakeholders representing the commercial and recreational vessel industries, environmental groups, and ports.
“I applaud the great collaborative work that was done before and during this session to address the environmental, safety, and public expense risks caused by derelict vessels,” said Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark. “In particular, I want to thank Rep. Drew Hansen and Rep. Norma Smith for providing the critical legislative support and leadership for this bill, and staff at the Department of Revenue for working with us to develop a more equitable funding solution by requiring commercial vessel owners to pay a fee to support removal costs. For too long, recreational vessel owners have shouldered these costs. It’s a great start, but more work needs to be done.”
“A lot of work has gone into this bill—by Democrats and Republicans, House members and Senators, environmentalists, boaters, shellfishers, marina operators, industry representatives and more,” said Rep. Drew Hansen (D-Bainbridge Island), key bill sponsor. “This bill will save jobs and also keep our waterways clean and safe for recreation and industry.”
“HB 2457 is truly landmark legislation,” said Rep. Norma Smith (R-Clinton), key bill sponsor. “It was an honor to work with Rep. Drew Hansen, the team at DNR, and every stakeholder at the table to craft responsible policy which will stem the tide of large vessels reaching the crisis stage of threatening our waterways and taxpayer resources.”
“Washington’s waterways are the most beautiful in the world,” said Sen. Kirk Pearson (R-Monroe), Chair of the Senate Natural Resources & Parks Committee. “As legislators, it is our responsibility to ensure that they remain clean and free of hazards for generations to come. This legislation will help meet that goal.”
Key elements of the bill:
- Establishes an annual ‘derelict vessel removal fee’ of $1 per foot on commercial vessels that are required to be listed with the Department of Revenue. Revenue from this fee will go into the state’s Derelict Vessel Removal Account, which is managed by DNR.
- Requires moorage facilities and owners of vessels moored at these facilities to carry marine insurance.
- Requires insurance at the time of sale for vessels older than 40 years and longer than 65 feet.
- Prohibits the sale of unseaworthy vessels older than 40 years and longer than 65 feet.
- Exempts vessel deconstruction activities from the retail sales and use tax.
- Creates new penalties for failing to register a vessel.
For more information about the 2014 derelict vessel bill (2SHB 2457), visit: http://apps.leg.wa.gov/billinfo/summary.aspx?bill=2457&year=2013
For the final bill language as passed by the Legislature, visit: http://apps.leg.wa.gov/documents/billdocs/2013-14/Pdf/Bills/House%20Passed%20Legislature/2457-S2.PL.pdf
DNR’s Derelict Vessel Removal Program
Derelict or abandoned vessels put public safety and the health of Washington’s marine and fresh waters at risk. The program is the state’s key mechanism to address these vessels and provides funding and expertise to public agencies to assist with the removal of abandoned and derelict vessels from state-owned aquatic lands managed by DNR.
For more information about the Derelict Vessel Removal Program, visit: http://bit.ly/dnr_dvrp