The City of Kirkland is recommending sweeping changes to the City's watercraft regulations due to complaints from residents living on the water about excessive noise from revelers on boats. The Council will consider this issue at their March 6, 2012 meeting.
In a staff memo to the Kirkland City Council titled, Amendments to KMC Title 14 Relating to Watercraft dated February 27, 2012, the City is recommending that the City Council side with waterfront residents over boaters. Among the many prohibitions considered, the changes would include:
- Tandem moorage, “rafting” or the tying together of vessels or watercraft in the waters of the City of Kirkland is prohibited, except to the extent necessary to render aid in the event of an emergency or to provide assistance to a vessel or watercraft experiencing mechanical difficulties;
- Any three (or more) motorized watercraft drifting or anchored within 25 feet of each other for the purpose of having a party or rafting-like social exchange shall be deemed to be rafting;
- The creation of frequent, repetitive or continuous sounds (including but not limited to operation of watercraft in violation of the muffler requirements in KMC 14.28.020) in connection with the starting, operation, repair, rebuilding, testing or revving of engines of any vessel or watercraft, so as to unreasonably disturb or interfere with the peace, comfort and repose of others, including owners or possessors of real property;
- Yelling, shouting, hooting, whistling or singing, particularly between sunset and sunrise or at any time and place so as to unreasonably disturb or interfere with the peace, comfort and repose of others, including owners or possessors of real property;
- Sound from any audio sound system operated at volumes so as to be audible greater than 50 feet from the watercraft itself; or
- Sound which unreasonably interferes with the peace, comfort and repose of others, including owners or possessors of real property.
If passed by the City Council, violations of this Section shall be a civil infraction punishable by a fine of one hundred fifty dollars ($150.00). A second violation in the same calendar year shall be punishable by a fine of three hundred dollars ($300). A third (or more) violation in the same calendar year shall be punishable by a fine of four hundred fifty ($450) dollars.
During the summer months, Juanita Bay has been a gathering place for "rafters" and the noise they make has prompted nearby residents to complain to City Hall. At this time, the Kirkland Police Department does not have marine vessels. Policing by boat on Lake Washington is done by King County.
[box type="download" style="rounded" border="full"]Click here to download a PDF of the staff memo proposing amendments to watercraft regulations.[/box]