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The law, which came into effect Tuesday, also requires an inspection of a vessel's condition before sale. The law applies to both commercial and private vessel owners.
“In recent years, the public has paid millions of dollars for hauling, cleaning up pollution and disposing of older, larger vessels that have sunk and contaminated the public's aquatic lands,” said Kristin Swenddal, the state Department of Natural Resources aquatic resources manager.
“We want to address the problem earlier in the life cycle of these vessels, when it is less expensive.
“The new requirements are designed to place responsibility on vessel owners, and significantly reduce the potential financial impacts to the public.”
The new law affects both the seller and buyer of the vessel.
The seller must provide the buyer with marine survey inspection information before title transfer, and the seller must see proof that the buyer has secured marine insurance coverage for the vessel.
A buyer of a longer old vessel must secure marine insurance and provide proof of coverage to the seller, and either the Department of Licensing upon registration, or the Department of Revenue upon paying any taxes, if applicable.
This marine insurance requirement applies only to new owners at the time of title transfer, not to existing owners who acquired the vessel before June 12, 2014.
A seller who finalizes a sale with a buyer who has not provided proof of a marine insurance policy assumes secondary liability for the vessel if the vessel is later abandoned by the buyer or becomes derelict prior to a later sale.
A buyer who fails to secure and maintain the minimum marine insurance coverage can be found guilty of a misdemeanor and will incur liability for the vessel if it becomes damaged, derelict or abandoned.
For more information, see the long vessel inspection and insurance Web page at www.dnr.wa.gov.