Padden’s boating-safety measure sails through Senate

The Senate today gave its unanimous support this evening to Sen. Mike Padden’s bill to align Washington boating law with the state’s motor-vehicle law when it comes to driving under the influence.padden_pq

“Alcohol consumption is the leading contributor to boating accidents in Washington,” said Padden, R-Spokane Valley. “There is no simple fix to the problem of boating under the influence, but Senate Bill 5437 will help.”

By operating a motor vehicle on Washington roads, Padden explained, a driver essentially consents to be tested as to whether he or she is under the influence of alcohol, marijuana or other drugs. However, Washington has no “implied consent” rule for boaters – a gap in the law that would be filled by his legislation.

Padden is chairman of the Senate Law and Justice Committee, which had endorsed the measure last month. He said more than 200 people or organizations had provided input that led to the bill’s focus being sharpened to cover what’s considered most essential for increasing boating safety on Washington waters.

The measure now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration.