Wildlife officers cracking down on use of life vests

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by GARY CHITTIM / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @gchittimK5

KING5.com

Posted on July 3, 2013 at 6:25 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jul 3 at 6:40 PM

FALL CITY, Wash. -- State Fish and Wildlife Enforcement officer Kim Chandler will give a warning first, but then an $87 fine the second time he catches inner tubers on the Snoqualmie River without life jackets.

Chandler said most people don't know that tubers are required to have a personal flotation device (PFD) with them when traveling down river. He said the law requires all vessels in the state to have PFDs for everyone on board, and the law defines "vessels" as any watercraft being used for transportation.

Tubers are using the inner tubes to get from point "A" to point "B," so in the eyes of Fish and Wildlife, the State Parks Department and The Coast Guard, inner tubes are vessels.

Some of the people Chandler has given citation have successfully fought them in court. He said some judges agree with his interpretation and some don't. Chandler said that's up to the courts to decide.

Chandler has seen enough tragedies on the water that he feels bringing along a life jacket is not too much to ask of a tuber. Adults don't even need to wear them, but just have a life vest with them for the ride.

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