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Public Communications (MS-11)
614 Division Street, Port Orchard, WA
Phone: 360.337.4598

Date: March 27, 2006
Contact: PJ Callahan
Phone: (360) 337-4481
No. 06-25

County Commissioners Consider Amendments to Boating Ordinance

PORT ORCHARD, WA—The Kitsap Board of County Commissioners will conduct a public hearing on April 10, 10:25 a.m., in the Commissioners’ Chambers to accept public comment on proposed amendments to the Watercraft Ordinance (Section 10.36 Kitsap County Code). The proposed revisions would clean up some repetitive language and modify provisions in the county’s boating ordinance to be consistent with Washington State law regarding waterborne traffic and abandoned or derelict vessels.

“While counties are permitted to establish different standards, following the state’s process will allow us to potentially be reimbursed for costs related to impoundment, such as towing and storage fees,” said Jan Angel, chair of the board. “We also needed to change the way we handle emergency situations, so we can respond in a timely manner to protect the safety of the public and our marine mammals. These updates are a first step in a more proactive response to the public’s concern for our waterways.”

The primary difference between the current and proposed ordinance is a new section designating emergency powers for directing waterborne traffic and designating a restricted area during an emergency, including times when orca pods visit Kitsap County waters. There are also revised conditions pertaining to abandoned and derelict vessels and for when a vessel may be impounded or taken into custody

Current Kitsap County code requires that the commissioners pass an emergency ordinance prior to the restriction of waterborne traffic. Often, an emergent situation that might require such a restriction, such as the presence of orcas, will have been resolved prior to the board’s ability to convene and enact an emergency ordinance. Therefore, the proposed ordinance amendment would allow for the restriction of waterborne traffic by the Sheriff or authorized officers of appropriate county government agencies when necessary to expedite waterborne traffic, prevent or eliminate congestion or safeguard person, property or marine mammals listed in the Endangered Species Act.

“With 228 miles of salt-water, more than any other county in Washington, Kitsap County has one of the highest incidences of abandoned and derelict vessels, according to state records,” said Commissioner Patty Lent. “Derelict vessels have long been an environmental and public safety concern. These updates will improve consistency between our local ordinance and the state statutes for removing derelict vessels.”

There are no fiscal impacts of the proposed ordinance amendments.

Review a copy of the proposed ordinance.

To submit public comment on the on proposed amendments to the Watercraft Ordinance, please attend the public hearing on April 10, 10:25 a.m., in the Commissioners’ Chambers.

To contact the Kitsap County Public Information Office, 
call PJ Callahan at 360-337-4481 or email:

Last Updated:  May 27, 2014