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Discussion Starter #1
Hey all,

I just bought a 14' boat for small lake fishing in non-navigable waters. Think Lake Cassidy or any other place I might find crappie. I have an Alumaweld for big waters so I would probably never need to use the 14' on bigger water or navigable waters. My intention is to put an electric motor on the bow and not use a gas motor at all.

Do I have to license/register and put decals on my new (to me) little boat? I seem to have heard on here that I don't need to have decals.

Any help is greatly appreciated and thank you in advance.

randy
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanx Woodfighter,

Just found this DNR chart showing pretty much everything might be able to be considered "navigable". Even Lake Cassidy might be considered navigable.

http://your.kingcounty.gov/dnrp/library ... rs-e31.pdf

I'm gonna go ahead and register because I would bet you'd get a ticket if you didn't.
 

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Here is a link to the state regulations.
http://www.boat.wa.gov/register.asp

But basically it goes as such..

To navigate, operate, employ, or moor your vessel in Washington, you must have a Washington title, registration card, and registration decals, except:

If your vessel is a canoe, kayak, or a vessel not propelled by a motor or sail.
If your vessel is less than 16 feet in length and has a motor of 10 horsepower or less and is used on non-federal waters only.
If your vessel is properly registered by a resident of another state or country who uses Washington waters for 60 days or fewer.


So What are non-federal waters... :eek:

Before getting into the ugly of this definition. What I have learned from a boat perspective from the coasties is that even if the body of water is federal if the coasties are not patrolling it the state laws are the only applicable laws.
A prime example of this is the Potholes over east. It is most definitely a federal body of water but only patrolled by the county. I have spoken to the feds and county in great lengths on this. I have to go back and dig out the documented emails I have for it but proof is in that none of the guides on that water are required to carry captains licenses. clown:
If you have a question on a specific lake the best thing you can do is call the county it resides in and find out if they are the primary enforcement for the waterway. As them if they share jurisdiction with the coastguard if the answer is no then you can save yourself allot of time trying to get an answer from the coastguard


Waters that provide a channel for commerce and transportation of people and goods.

Under U.S. law, bodies of water are distinguished according to their use. The distinction is particularly important in the case of so-called navigable waters, which are used for business or transportation. Jurisdiction over navigable waters belongs to the federal government rather than states or municipalities. The federal government can determine how the waters are used, by whom, and under what conditions. It also has the power to alter the waters, such as by dredging or building dams. Generally a state or private property owner who is inconvenienced by such work has no remedy against the federal government unless state or private property itself is taken; if such property is taken, the laws of Eminent Domain would apply, which may lead to compensation for the landowner.

The basis for federal jurisdiction over navigable waters lies in the U.S. Constitution. Since the early nineteenth century, the U.S. Supreme Court has held that the Commerce Clause (Article 1, Section 8) gives the federal government extensive authority to regulate interstate commerce. This view originated in 1824 in the landmark case of gibbons v. ogden, 22 U.S. (9 Wheat.) 1, 6 L. Ed. 23. In Gibbons, the Court was faced with deciding whether to give precedence to a state or federal law for the licensing of vessels. It ruled that navigation of vessels in and out of the ports of the nation is a form of interstate commerce and thus federal law must take precedence. This decision led to the contemporary exercise of broad federal power over navigable waters, and in countless other areas of interstate commerce.

In practical terms federal regulation of navigable waters takes many forms. One area of this regulation covers matters of transportation and commerce: for example, rules governing the licensing of ships and the dumping of waste. A second area applies to the alteration of the navigable waters, which is strictly controlled by federal law. The Rivers and Harbors Appropriation Act of 1899 forbids building any unauthorized obstruction to the nation's navigable waters and gives enforcement powers to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. A third area of regulation involves Workers' Compensation claims. The concept of navigable waters is important in claims made under the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act of 1988 (33 U.S.C.A. §§ 901â€"950). The act provides that employers are liable for injuries to sailors that occur upon navigable waters of the United States.

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.

Further readings
"Annotated Federal Statutes of Limitation: Title 33â€"Navigation and Navigable Waters." 1995. Southwestern University Law Review 24 (winter).

Arnold, Alvin L. 1993. "Navigable Waters: Four Tests to Determine Navigability." Real Estate Law Report 22 (January).

Kullman, Aimee P. 1994. "Expanding the Scope of 'Navigable Waters' under the LHWCA." Tulane Maritime Law Journal 19 (winter).

 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanx for the information everyone. I appreciate it. If I understand this correctly, I can probably take my 14' boat w/ electric bowmount to Lake Cassidy and other lakes in the mountains with no problem, but should be prepared to argue my case if stopped. I didn't realize what a complex issue this is until you guys helped me out.

Thank you!

randy
 
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