The City of Kirkland has dropped a controversial attempt to limit the number of boats that can tie together offshore.
The practice is called "rafting." The city calls it tandem moorage. People who live near city parks and beaches have complained for years about excessive noise coming from partyers who link their boats, particularly in Juanita Bay. One homeowner offered video evidence of drinking and wild and noisy activity coming from groups of boats linked together.
When the city proposed a ban this spring on the rafting of three or more vessels, boaters showed up in force to complain to the city council. Many argued that the rafting ban would prohibit quiet gatherings of vessels, too.
In a compromise, the city council voted Wednesday to extend the city's existing noise ordinance for cars to watercraft. An amendment prohibits noise from boats that can be heard from more than 300 feet away. For cars, the noise threshold is 50 feet.
The city will post notices about the amendment at boat launches and parks and hold community meetings.
The city council is asking the police department to monitor the impact of the new law this summer and report back to the council in the fall.
The new noise law takes effect a week from this Saturday, June 16th.