DNR wants to hear from the public on proposed rules for selling older, longer vessels

The Cactus was a 180-ft steel-hulled former US Coast Guard buoy tender that DNR took custody of after it spent several years illegally moored off Maury Island. Eventually, the vessel was deconstructed in Jan. 2013. Photo: DNR

Last year, the Washington State Legislature passed a bill to strengthen the state’s ability to deal with derelict and abandoned vessels. Part of the legislation proposes rules that will require owners of older, longer vessels to obtain a marine survey of their vessel prior to selling it.

The public is invited to provide input to DNR on these rules.

Q. Who does the rule affect?
A. Owners of vessels greater than 65 feet in length and more than 40 years old who wish to sell their vessel will need to obtain an inspection from a qualified marine surveyor prior to transferring ownership. The vessel inspection may be prepared for either the owner, lienholder, buyer/transferee, vessel broker, or associated financial and insurance providers for the vessel. Current U.S. Coast Guard certificates of inspection are acceptable.

Q. What kinds of information will be required in the inspection?
A. This will be determined during the public rule-making process. Download our fact sheet for more information about proposed criteria for inspections.

Q. How did you determine the length and age of vessels requiring an inspection?
A. The law recognizes that larger, older vessels pose a higher risk of becoming derelict or abandoned and threatening Washington State’s marine environment, public safety and navigation. Generally, dealing with these vessels costs hundreds of thousands—if not millions—of dollars. More often than not, taxpayers end up shouldering most of the burden of footing the bill.

Q. When will the rules go into effect?
A. By December 31, 2014.

Q. What else do the proposed rules cover?
A. Owners must provide a copy of the vessel inspection documentation to the buyer and the Washington State Department of Natural Resources prior to the ownership transfer. Owners who comply will avoid secondary liability if the vessel is later abandoned by the buyer or becomes derelict prior to a subsequent ownership transfer.

Q. How can I provide my comments on the proposed rules?
A. You have several ways to give us your comments:

  • Attend one of three public hearings: March 25 in Mount Vernon; March 26 in Vancouver; and March 27 in Seattle. For more information about the public hearings, download our news release.
  • Mail: Lisa Randlette, DVRP Rules Coordinator
    Washington State Department of Natural Resources
    MS 47027
    Olympia, WA  98504-7027
  • Email: lisa.randlette@dnr.wa.gov
  • Fax: 360-902-1786

Comment deadline is March 28, 2014

Follow DNR on: Facebook Fan See us on Flickr Watch us YouTube Follow us on Twitter Follow DNR Fire Twitter Join in the DNR Forum