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Comment period

Chapter 363-116 WAC, Pilotage Rules, Board of Pilotage Commissioners

Informal comment period to inform draft rule language

June 4, 2024, 3:44 p.m. - April 21, 2025, 11:59 p.m.

We invite you to share your thoughts and feedback on materials shared during rule development workshops to inform our draft rule language for the Board of Pilotage Commissioners (BPC) tug escort rulemaking.


Engrossed Substitute House Bill (ESHB) 1578 directs the Board of Pilotage Commissioners, in consultation with the Department of Ecology to adopt rules regarding tug escorts in Puget Sound for oil tankers, articulated tug barges (ATBs) (as defined in RCW 88.16.260), and towed waterborne vessels or barges by December 31, 2025.

The rulemaking will amend WAC 363-116-500 and, if needed, add new sections to Chapter 363-116 WAC. The rulemaking will consider 2019 legislative changes made to Chapter 88.16 RCW (Pilotage Act) through the passage of Engrossed Substitute House Bill (ESHB) 1578. The rules will be designed to achieve best achievable protection, as defined in RCW 88.46.010, and will be informed by other considerations in ESHB 1578. The rulemaking will:

  • Describe tug escort requirements for the following vessels operating in the waters east of the line extending from Discovery Island light south to New Dungeness light and all points in the Puget Sound area:
    • Oil tankers of between 5,000 and 40,000 deadweight tons.
    • Articulated tug barges (ATB) and towed waterborne vessels or barges greater than 5,000 deadweight tons that are designed to transport oil in bulk internal to the hull. 
  • Specify operational requirements for tug escorts, where they are required.  
  • Specify functionality requirements for tug escorts, where they are required.
  • Consider the existing tug-escort requirements applicable to Rosario Strait and connected waterways to the east, established in RCW 88.16.190(2)(a)(ii), including adjusting or suspending those requirements, as needed. 
  • Describe exemptions to tug-escort requirements, including whether certain vessel types or geographic zones should be precluded from the escort requirements.
  • Make other changes to clarify language and make any corrections needed.

More Information

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Comment online

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Jaimie Bever
BPC Executive Director and rulemaking lead

To request ADA accommodation, contact Ecology's ADA Coordinator by email at ecyadacoordinator@ecy.wa.gov, or call 360-407-6831, 711 (relay service), or 877-833-6341 (TTY). More about our accessibility services.