Washington county passes wide-ranging PFD law

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Those who boat or swim on rivers in King County, Wash., must now wear a life vest or face an $86 fine following the passage Monday of an ordinance requiring PFDs.

The county council passed the new law on a 5-4 vote, according to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. An amendment exempting adults who are fishing was passed.

“This council sometimes thinks it's everybody's mom,” said Councilwoman Kathy Lambert, who voted “no.”

But supporters said the new rule, which appears to be the first of its kind in the state, will save lives.

Staff at the Municipal Research and Services Center of Washington said Kitsap and Clark counties had rules about people wearing life vests while on sail boards, water scooters and other watercraft, but it didn't appear that any other county required swimmers to wear the devices.

The new rule will be in effect until Oct. 1. Violators would first get a warning.

Current state law requires that children 12 and under must wear a life vest when they are on a boat that is less than 19 feet long.

The new county ordinance says everyone must wear the vests when they are on rivers that include the South, Middle and North Fork and the main stem of the Snoqualmie River, the South Fork of the Skykomish, the Tolt River, the Raging River, the Sammamish River, the Cedar River, the White River and the Green River.

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