In an era where every government agency is scouring their databases and tax rolls to try and find 'loose change' to feed the general revenue fund, the State of Washington, after about 15 years, has decided to scrap their licensing requirements for Whitewater River Outfitters. No doubt because of the expense to maintain the records and keep up with paperwork from an industry that has never grown much past the fledgling stage. Meaning, of course, there was no there, there. Licensing river runners was less than a zero sum game.
The letter from the Department of Licensing states the reason as being either "the industry has changed" (which is certainly not the case), "or business practices are so well established that licensure is no longer needed". I will vote for the latter because that was my argument to minimize the licensing requirements all those years ago. However, I suspect the real reason lies in the fact it was costlier to administer than it was worth.
It is interesting that while the State of Washington is --- essentially --- throwing in the towel, the State of Oregon is more than tripling its State Marine Board permit fees for whitewater outfitters from Washington operating on Oregon rivers. This is called "reciprocation". Washington charges Oregon outfitters, so Oregon reciprocates. With this February 20th decree from the Washington DOL eliminating licensing requirement AND fees. I may have to give the Oregon State Marine Board another phone call to see if reciprocation still applies.
Thus, while some expenses climb --- most expenses climb --- incredibly, some fall.
The pending legislation eliminating licensing requirements in Washington is SB 6037.