Getting a fishing guide license in Washington State might get a little bit harder and a lot more expensive if a bill introduced today in the Senate gets traction.
Senate Bill 5786 would require all new applicants for commercial fishing guide licenses show proof of general liability insurance with at least $300,000 coverage. Currently, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) only “recommends” that guides have any liability insurance. The proposal is sponsored by Sen. Jim Hargrove, D-Hoquiam.
Des Moines resident Tom Lines runs Tight Lines Sport Fishing Charter and Guide Service. He said he’s been expecting the state to start requiring insurance for years.
“I think it’s a very good idea,” Lines said. “If you’re taking people out on the water, whether you’re in a boat or whatever, you need to be responsible.”
Lines, who said he’s been running a charter boat since 1997 and fishing for decades, said he thinks one of the biggest problems with guide fishing in the state is the easy access to guide licenses.
“Right now, any idiot with a couple hundred bucks can walk in and get a guide license,” Lines said. “A lot of these people think that just because they’ve been fishing for a couple years, they can be a guide. That doesn’t mean they’re safe.”
Currently WDFW only requires fishing guides pay $250, fill out a very basic application, and provide a social security number.
In addition to the proposed legislation requiring applicants show proof of liability insurance, the proposal would also require applicants to have a Unified Business Identifier (UBI) number, photo I.D., and show proof of certification in First Aid and CPR training.
The bill will receive a public hearing Feb. 19 in front of the 1:30 p.m. Senate Committee on Natural Resources & Parks.