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Old 10-07-2014, 04:00 PM   #121
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Originally Posted by Mule View Post
I am not too sure about that. The intercostal waterway and other navigatabe waterways are not subject to the whelms of the locals elected or not without siginificant over sight. Just as federal highways.
The waterway IN the federal channel is the federal governments domain. The anchorages (unless designated a federal anchorage) outside it are most definitely NOT.

Look at it another way. When a state enacts some laws, Who enforces them? The local county mounty, or the USCG?

The USCG NEVER enforces local or state laws. They will simply finish their boarding and say: Have a nice day.

The same goes for the waterways. The intercoastal CHANNEL is federal. the surrounding waters are 'owned' by the state. The channel is the dredged area and the supporting channels. The flats and bays alongside the channel are NOT federal channels.
The USCG doesn't care two whits about what you are doing outside the channel: anchored or fishing or sleeping. As long as you aren't navigating in violation of the rules, OUI, or in harms way they keep on going. Of course they may stop by for a 'safety check'. But they don't care where you are (unless you are in channel or in a designated federal anchorage, where you shouldn't be)

There's a difference between: Navigable waters and Navigable channel. Huge difference. The waters are everywhere it is wet. The channel is the improved portion. USCG can enforce federal laws anywhere on the navigable waters of the US. The USCG doesn't bother act as enforcement arm of any states regulation. They don't want to. It's not their business. However, the usage of the federal channel is NOT regulated by the local state. Most states have laws that mirror the federal regulations. But they cannot make more stringent regulations concerning the use of and navigation IN the channel.

The states can do pretty much whatever they want (pending legislative and executive approval) OUTside the channel though. The state has to apply for a 'permit' to the US Army Corps of Engineers to designate a 'place' an anchorage, or a dock, or whatever they want. Upon review to make sure the USACE feels it doesn't usurp the healthy usage of the area the state can then make whatever it wants to for usage rules. Period. The USACE has no say, care or worry about 'how' the state is going to implement the usage of said space. Just that it doesn't encroach on the 'yellow footed booby' or create a drainage or erosion or sewage issue. Once approved, the enforcement is completely up to the local H2O cops.

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Old 10-07-2014, 04:06 PM   #122
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Originally Posted by Alaskan Sea-Duction View Post
Tow the abandon boats out and let the USCG use them for target practice!
If only it was that easy. Tow them to the nearest ramp and use a track loader like Washington does to break them up and toss them into the dumpster. But currently there is no law that grants that authority. Obviously where it sits it does not represent a hazard to other boats. May or may not represent a hazard to the environment. There is nothing today that allows Coast Guard, State or Local authorities to really do anything. If not in compliance of the law in some way, then they can be ticketed.

A simple solution in a case like this one would be a law that followed some procedure like this:

1. Notify owner boat is considered an abandoned boat. Post a notice on the boat and send a certified letter to owner's address as listed on registration. Allow 30 days to respond.

2. If no response then move boat to a yard specifically for this, equivalent to a junk yard. Pump out water if necessary to move, spend whatever amount is necessary, Have a crane/lift there and lift it out, depositing on shore.

3. Notify owner again that it has been moved and the cost and give them 60 days to recover it.

4. Dispose of boat in best way. If it carries value as is, sell it. If it doesn't, but pieces do then piece it out. Crush remainder and haul away.

I find it interesting to compare to abandoned cars in Florida. A car is considered abandoned if left unattended for 35 hours. If on private property the owner may have it towed. This gives tow company a lien which they file with the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. If it remains in storage and unclaimed for 45 days or more the business may sell it.

If it's on public property, the police send notice they have removed it and taken possession to both the owner and any lienholder. If they don't receive a reply within 5 days, they may retain the vehicle, donate it to charity or sell it at auction after 35 days if it's more than 3 years old and after 50 days if it's less than 3 years old.

There are two major differences then. The first is that there is no equivalent law on boats, none that determines abandonment and none that provides how that will be dealt with. The second is that it costs considerably more to remove a boat than a car. A car is probably $200-300. A boat is probably $600-$50,000.

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Old 10-07-2014, 04:58 PM   #123
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Perhaps this might be helpful:

The vast body of federal regulation concerning navigable waters frequently gives rise to litigation, and in many cases the courts have the difficult job of determining whether particular bodies of water are navigable (and thus subject to the law or regulation in question). Lakes and rivers are generally considered navigable waters, but smaller bodies of water may also be navigable. Attempting to address years of problematic litigation, the U.S. Supreme Court in 1979 created four tests for determining what constitutes navigable waters. Established in Kaiser Aetna v. United States, 444 U.S. 164, 100 S. Ct. 383, 62 L. Ed. 2d 332, the tests ask whether the body of water (1) is subject to the ebb and flow of the tide, (2) connects with a continuous interstate waterway, (3) has navigable capacity, and (4) is actually navigable. Using these tests, courts have held that bodies of water much smaller than lakes and rivers also constitute navigable waters. Even shallow streams that are traversable only by canoe have met the test.

For those of you outside of the United States our constitution gives jurisdiction of interstate commerce to the federal (national) government. If the waterway is navigable then it is in interstate commerce.
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Old 10-07-2014, 05:18 PM   #124
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Originally Posted by Alaskan Sea-Duction View Post
mmm never realized this. Good point. So how can Seattle legally restrict a navigable water way? So long as I am not anchored in a shipping lane, I should be allowed to anchor anywhere I see fit..

While I don't know if the issue has ever come up, I suspect it might be because all of Elliot Bay and Lake Union are considered navitable. Ships waiting to load at the grain terminal on the city's waterfront anchor out in the bay, of course. But I don't know what the official position on anchoring is.

I do know that for the big Fourth of July fireworks displays on Lake Union and on Elliot Bay, hundreds of boats anchor on both those bodies of water to watch the fireworks. And there is a popular bay on Lake Washington near a park that lots of boats anchor in. There may be a time limit for this, however, enforced by the marine division of the Seattle police.

Lake Union is an interesting case. While it is within the bounds of the City of Seattle, you will not find anyone in the city's government from the mayor on down who will claim the lake is owned by Seattle.

Why? Because who ever claims ownership of the lake immediately gives them a far, far bigger problem than noise or anchoring.

I learned about this when I was on the Mayor's Committee on Seaplane Noise a number of years ago.

The moment Seattle lays official claim to the lake, which they would have to do in order to create and enforce laws governing the lake, they become responsible for the staggering amount of pollutants in the bottom of the lake. For decades, Seattle was ringed by shipyards and other maritime industries, to say nothing of the very polluting gas plant at the north end of the lake. The primary means of disposing of anything anybody didn't want-- be it paint, chemicals, creosote, PCBs, coal, you name it--- was to dump it off the dock into the lake. To the point where under the thin layer of mud above it, the bottom of the lake is a veritable storage depot of things that can cause all manner of problems.

Cleaning it up would most likely bankrupt the city. So the city simply looks the other way stays mum about who owns the lake. Rules and regulations regarding the operation of vessels and aircraft on the surface of the lake are governed by the USCG and the Seattle Police Dept. These have to do with navigation rules (USCG) and speed/intoxication while driving rules (SPD).

Which is why, when the seaplane operators eventually hammered out an agreement with the representatives of the communities surrounding the lake--- Freemont, Ballard, the Floating Homes Association, Queen Ann, etc.--- it could only be a purely voluntary agreement. It could not become a legal, enforceable set of regulations because this would require the city to officially claim ownership of the lake, which the city's attorneys were way too smart to do.
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Old 10-07-2014, 07:33 PM   #125
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Originally Posted by skidgear View Post
...what about the derelict boats on the Great Loop....
Please explain ...
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Old 10-08-2014, 12:04 AM   #126
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PS-a bit off topic, but that link you posted brought back some great memories. I am very familiar with that shrimp house and property. My first wife's uncle, Norman Bellamy, owned that property for over 60 years. He built shrimp boats and the occasional yacht on the shrimp boat hulls for 50 years. His wife ran the shrimp house. I spent many days there watching true artists, all now long dead and gone, building shrimp boats, almost from memory, few to no plans. It is sad to see what his family has allowed the property to become.

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