New law targets purchase, sale, condition of older, longer boats

A new Washington state law requires boat owners to carry insurance for vessels 65 feet or longer, and for boats age 40  and over.

Approved by the state legislature, the law went into effect July 1.

The law applies to owners of commercial and private boats, and also requires inspection of boat and its condition prior to sale.

Cleanup, retrieval and disposal of older, larger vessels that have sank and contaminated public aquatic lands have cost millions in taxpayer dollar in recent years, according to the Department of Natural Resources Kristin Swenddal, aquatic resources manager.

"We want to address the problem earlier in the life cycle of these vessels, when it is less expensive," Swenddal said in a press release about the new law. "The new requirements are designed to place responsibility on vessel owners, and significantly reduce the potential financial impacts to the public."

The law applies to buyers and sellers, and requires a marine survey (seller) and proof of insurance (buyer) before sale and title transfer. The insurance requirement applies only to new owners at the time of title transfer, not to boat owners who acquired a vessel before June 12.

But that's not all. The new law carries potential consequences if a buyer does not comply.

A seller who finalizes a sale with a buyer who has not provided proof of insurance assumes secondary liability for the vessel if it is later abandoned or becomes derelict prior to a subsequent sale. A buyer that fails to secure and maintain minimum coverage could face prosecution for a misdemeanor offense and will be liable for the vessel should it become damaged, derelict or abandoned.

For more about the new law, click on this link.




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