We have received many emails today regarding Bill HB 1018, 2021-22, Concerning Boater Education, and want to make sure all of you know about it.
Our associates at American Whitewater are opposing this bill. You can read what they say here: https://www.americanwhitewater.org/content/Article/view/article_id/EwzkqZdFbx6RsGifHDKqd/
We have a copy of an opposition which lists the following:
No input from kayakers was sought before introducing this.
-There has been no factual showing for the need for this legislation and no study presented showing that the legislation actually would improve safety.
-Inadequate equivalency: eg. I have safely paddled for @ 20 years and taken basic and advanced courses that don’t count.
– Bill lacks requirement for the course to be tailored for kayakers.
– Bill lacks requirement that provides for kayaker input for developing course.
-Bill lacks requirement to give kayakers a voice in how collected funds are used. The kayaker community will be drown out by motorized boating interests.
-The bill is ambiguous about whether it intends to include or exclude sailboating, sailboarding, wind surfing and similar craft. It would be irrational to exclude them.
Eddyline Kayak Company also sent a letter and gave us permission to edit it slightly. If you are interested in writing, feel free to personalize it.
The main body reads as such:
January 19, 2021
The Honorable Representative Cindy Ryu (and/or your representative)
Chair, House Community & Economic Development
421 John L. O’Brien Building
PO Box 40600
Olympia, WA 98504
RE: HB 1018, 2021-22, Concerning Boater Education
Dear Representative Ryu:
My name is ______________ I am writing on behalf of ______________ and our community to voice our strong objection to House Bill 1018. This bill would require kayakers to pay for a motorboating education class, purchase a boater education card, and put additional restrictions on participation on youth under twelve years of age.
We believe that HB 1018 is at odds with our _____________.
Current boater education card training is designed for powered vessels of 15 hp or greater, not human powered lightweight craft. This training is unsuitable for human powered paddle sports. Critical kayak safety skills such as bracing strokes, unassisted reentry, and maneuvering through moving water are not part of the education curriculum for motorized craft.
We worry that a certificate of training from a course designed for motorboats would do little to advance safe paddling and may in fact provide new participants in the sport with a false sense of security.
Paddle sport activities, like jogging or cycling, are human powered activities that are accessible to people of all means and all walks of life. Requiring kayakers to take a course and pay for an irrelevant certificate will put an undue burden on lower income participants of this otherwise accessible sport, which is antithetical to our goal of equitable access.
Paddle sport activities provide physical and health benefits to individuals. There are few activities better suited for social distancing to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. Kayaking, canoeing, and paddle boarding are low impact activities to the environment. We should, now more than ever, encourage safe participation in these sports rather than creating barriers which will disproportionately impact lower income citizens of our state.
Add something personal here: __________________________________________________________
I urge you to vote against HB 1018. I am willing to work together with you collaboratively to find more appropriate and effective ways to advance the safety of our sport.
More directions from AWA on how to testify:
We encourage all paddlers who have input on the legislation to consider testifying; with the state legislature closed to the public, residents of the state have the option of submitting written testimony or testifying remotely by video from their home.
How To Testify
Sign up for testimony in the House on Wednesday January 20th, 10am is now open.
Review the How To Testify Page: https://leg.wa.gov/legislature/Pages/Testify.aspx
Follow the Committee Sign in Link: https://app.leg.wa.gov/csiremote/
Select House, Community and Economic Development Committee, Meeting 1/20/2021, 10am; then select Agenda Item: HB 1018 Boater Education
You then have three options: 1) submit written testimony, 2) testify live during the hearing (a unique link will be emailed to you allowing you to participate by video conference), or 3) register a position for the bill for the hearing record.
We will follow the bill status and post hearing information for the Senate Agriculture, Water, Natural Resources & Parks when it becomes available.
Make a Comment to Your Representatives
In addition to weighing in at the hearing, we also encourage our members to weigh in directly with their representative.
To send a note to your representatives go to the direct page for the bill:
On the right side of the page you will see a link to “Comment on this bill;” you can also select “Get Email Notifications” to stay updated on bill progress. After you select the comment link you enter your address to verify your District, select the legislators you want to send a note to, and then select your position and write a comment.
Of course, we would like your input and encourage you to read through the information and make up your own minds.
I started teaching kayaking in 1984, retired as an ACA L4 Instructor Trainer for whitewater and sea kayak, have also been a professional rafting guide/instructor, and am currently a ski instructor. These ideas were tossed around when I was on the Washington State Parks Boating Safety Council back in the nineties. I do believe everyone should wear a PFD all the time, and when I use my standup paddle board, I always wear a PFD and use a leash.
Most of the companies in the outdoor industry stand behind safety, and it is important to get the word out.