New laws hit local waters this month

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It’s the summer time when people will be coming out to enjoy the water by the thousands, but marine units all over the state want you to know that laws have changed since last year, starting with boating under the influence.

boats lake unionDavid Sylvester is with the Seattle Harbor Patrol and says, “In the past, if you got convicted of a B-U-I,  you pretty much had a recommended sentence of a $250 fine. So it was basically a slap on the wrist.”

That’s not the case anymore. Starting later this month, a B-U-I now carries similar penalties to a D-U-I.

Sylvester explains,  “The fines now are basically going to be fines up to $5,000 and a year in prison.”

And that’s not the only change boaters can expect.

According to Washington state law, if you’re on a boat, you’re operating under something called “Implied Consent” and that means it could cost you of you tell an officer  “no.”

“Now with this new law that we have, simply having your boat on Washington water, you’ve given consent . If you refuse and the officer believes you’re intoxicated, you could be given a civil fine of a thousand dollars,” Sylvester said.

But drunken boaters aren’t always the most serious danger on the water.

Scott McGlashan also works for Seattle Harbor Patrol and says, “Typically what we see especially in Lake Union and the Fremont cut and especially Lake Washington is speeding.”

These officers want to remind the public that from the Ballard Locks to Lake Washington, the speed limit is a very slow 7 knots. A speeding ticket on the water could cost you almost $90.

So slow down, drink responsibly and wear a life vest.

McGlashan reminds the public that, “Drowning deaths are the second leading cause of  death for children under the age of 14 and that’s not only locally here, that’s nationwide.”

And don’t forget to enjoy this holiday season safely.

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