Muffler or underwater exhaust system required — Exemptions — Enforcement — Penalty.
(1) All motor-propelled vessels shall be equipped and maintained with an effective muffler that is in good working order and in constant use. For the purpose of this section, an effective muffler or underwater exhaust system does not produce sound levels in excess of ninety decibels when subjected to a stationary sound level test that shall be prescribed by rules adopted by the commission, as of July 25, 1993, and for engines manufactured on or after January 1, 1994, a noise level of eighty-eight decibels when subjected to a stationary sound level test that shall be prescribed by rules adopted by the commission.
(2) A vessel that does not meet the requirements of subsection (1) of this section shall not be operated on the waters of this state.
(3) No person may operate a vessel on waters of the state in such a manner as to exceed a noise level of seventy-five decibels measured from any point on the shoreline of the body of water on which the vessel is being operated that shall be specified by rules adopted by the commission, as of July 25, 1993. Such measurement shall not preclude a stationary sound level test that shall be prescribed by rules adopted by the commission.
(4) This section does not apply to: (a) A vessel tuning up, testing for, or participating in official trials for speed records or a sanctioned race conducted pursuant to a permit issued by an appropriate governmental agency; or (b) a vessel being operated by a vessel or marine engine manufacturer for the purpose of testing or development. Nothing in this subsection prevents local governments from adopting ordinances to control the frequency, duration, and location of vessel testing, tune-up, and racing.
(5) Any officer authorized to enforce this section who has reason to believe that a vessel is not in compliance with the noise levels established in this section may direct the operator of the vessel to submit the vessel to an on-site test to measure noise level, with the officer on board if the officer chooses, and the operator shall comply with such request. If the vessel exceeds the decibel levels established in this section, the officer may direct the operator to take immediate and reasonable measures to correct the violation.
(6) Any officer who conducts vessel sound level tests as provided in this section shall be qualified in vessel noise testing. Qualifications shall include but may not be limited to the ability to select the appropriate measurement site and the calibration and use of noise testing equipment.
(7) A person shall not remove, alter, or otherwise modify in any way a muffler or muffler system in a manner that will prevent it from being operated in accordance with this chapter.
(8) A person shall not manufacture, sell, or offer for sale any vessel that is not equipped with a muffler or muffler system that does not comply with this chapter. This subsection shall not apply to power vessels designed, manufactured, and sold for the sole purpose of competing in racing events and for no other purpose. Any such exemption or exception shall be documented in any and every sale agreement and shall be formally acknowledged by signature on the part of both the buyer and the seller. Copies of the agreement shall be maintained by both parties. A copy shall be kept on board whenever the vessel is operated.
(9) Except as provided in RCW 79A.60.020, a violation of this section is an infraction under chapter 7.84 RCW.
(10) Vessels that are equipped with an engine modified to increase performance beyond the engine manufacturer's stock configuration shall have an exhaust system that complies with the standards in this section after January 1, 1994. Until that date, operators or owners, or both, of such vessels with engines that are out of compliance shall be issued a warning and be given educational materials about types of muffling systems available to muffle noise from such high performance engines.
(11) Nothing in this section preempts a local government from exercising any power that it possesses under the laws or Constitution of the state of Washington to adopt more stringent regulations.
[2000 c 11 § 97; 1993 c 244 § 39. Formerly RCW 88.12.085.]
| Intent -- 1993 c 244: See note following RCW 79A.60.010.|