Dear Paddling Community,
We wanted to inform you that the Washington state legislature has just reintroduced a kayak licensing bill, SB 5597, in largely the same form as the bill that failed in 2021 after significant public opposition.
Public hearing on this bill will be held this Monday, February 6, 2023. You can testify in person, virtually, or provide a written response, or simply state your position on the bill by following this link.
This bill would require that anyone paddling a kayak, canoe, or paddleboard in Washington waters take an accredited safety course, pass a test, pay a $10 licensing fee, and carry their license with them while paddling. Paddlers guilty of an infraction of paddling without a license may be assessed a fine according to RCW 7.84 which permits monetary penalties up to $500. People renting equipment would need to take an abbreviated course at the time of rental. There is no exemption for Tribal Canoe Journeys.
In response to the previous version of this bill in 2021 we said: “At Eddyline our purpose is “to build quality craft that inspire people to safely and equitably enjoy access to clean and healthy waterways”. We strongly support safe paddling, however… we do not believe that this approach will effectively promote safe paddling, but we do feel it will unfairly limit access to our sport”.
We encourage Washington state residents to research this bill and to participate in the commentary process. You can find a link to our previous change.org petition here and our previous blog post here. You can also find a review of the bill by American Whitewater here.