The message below is from the Recreational Boating Association of Washington (RBAW):
IMPORTANT message for all my friends that boat in the PNW. Please read:
To ALL RBAW Members:
The Washington state task force created to evaluate the decline of the Southern Resident Killer Whales (SRKW) released a third round of updated draft recommendations for public comment on October 24th. The draft recommendations are meant to be near term actions to benefit these three orca pods.
The Task Force is accepting public comment on this latest draft, via an online survey: LINK.
Note that the recommendations summaries in this SurveyMonkey are VERY abbreviated; our greatest item of concern can only be fully appreciated by reviewing the FULL-TEXT (especially of recommendation #19) at THIS link: https://www.governor.wa.gov/sites/de...e_10-24-18.pdf
Survey responses on the latest draft recommendations must be submitted by the above SurveyMonkey link, by NOT LATER THAN midnight on Monday, October 29, and will be provided to the Task Force.
Please note that is not necessary to rank every recommendation; the survey is arranged such that respondents may click on just the items of interest, then select submit on the final page.
Following are some thoughts on a particular troubling proposal:
Draft recommendation 19: Require an annual “Be Whale Wise” certification for all recreational boaters on the inland marine waters, and ensure that all boaters are educated on how to limit boating impacts to orcas.
Wayne here: The devil's really in the details on this one. What's not mentioned in this question (but called out in the more complete text (available draft is the desire to stick this $10 on top of boat registrations. NMTA and the Recreational Boating Assoc of WA strongly encourage you to reject this notion/piling on of boat registrations.
This proposed fee is unfair, unnecessary, would present a logistical nightmare to administer and collect, and ignores the fact that recreational boaters were absolute team players during this Task Force process - despite the fact that no scientific basis or data exists to show boaters are the problem when it comes to sharply reduced populations of Southern Killer Whales.
The $10 fee also sends an incredibly mixed and conflicting message to boaters: On the one hand, other recommendations we're working WITH you on, are predicated on keeping boaters a safe distance away from Killer Whales; the $10 fee is supposed to be a payment for anyone who intends to go close to them! That makes no sense.
Let's remember, too, that boaters ALREADY pay far more than their fair share to the State of Washington. A recent Joint Legislative Audit Review Committee (JLARC) study shows taxes and fees on boaters add up to about $80 million a biennium and services provided back to us are about $64 million.
We boaters are by far the most significant contributors toward Derelict Vessel Removal and Aquatic Invasive Species prevention
(tacked onto our yearly registration!) , and we continue to pay a Watercraft Excise Tax even though similar excise taxes on vehicles and aircraft have been mostly or entirely repealed.
Boaters are also good stewards of the environment - we work on Clean Boating programs, established the Boater Education program, agreed to phase out copper-bottomed paint on vessels, serve as the major outside-funding contributors on Aquatic Invasive Species and Derelict Vessel Removal programs, and much more.
Thank you for your interest in this issue, and please let us know if you have any questions. We will report more on this Task Force in the coming weeks and months.