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County approves BUI law to seize boats from intoxicated operators

The BUI legislation is modeled after DUI legislation, and will allow police to impound any boats when no one else is available to safely operate or moor the boat. - Wikimedia Commons/Fair Use
The BUI legislation is modeled after DUI legislation, and will allow police to impound any boats when no one else is available to safely operate or moor the boat.
— image credit: Wikimedia Commons/Fair Use

From staff reports:

The King County Council unanimously passed legislation giving the King County Sheriff's Office (KCSO) the authority to impound vessels of boaters who are under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

The legislation was passed on Sept. 23. According to a news release, county reports this kind of legislation is a necessary tool in enhancing the safety of the region's waterways.

According to the county, the Marine Unit of KCSO previously didn't have the authority to impound the boats of intoxicated operators, nor the ability to impound unattended or drifting vessels they may have come across while patrolling local waterways.

This new legislation was the work of King County Councilmembers Rod Dembowski and Reagan Dunn. King County Sheriff John Urquhart was happy to see the legislation passed because it means his officers can get back to their jobs a little bit quicker.

"Those that operate boats while under the influence of alcohol or drugs present a serious threat to public safety," Urquhart said in a news release. "(This) ordinance gives the Marine Unit another tool to hold BUI offenders accountable and get our deputies back on the water as soon as possible."

The King County Marine Unit patrols Puget Sound, Lake Washington and Lake Sammamish, along with many of the smaller waterways and lakes in the county. The BUI legislation is modeled after DUI legislation, and will allow police to impound any boats when no one else is available to safely operate or moor the boat.

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