Call Us206-767-9080

Just a few snags with boat launch

MIKE ARCHBOLD; The News Tribune
Published: October 2nd, 2007 01:00 AM in the Tacoma, Washington News Tribune

The new credit card boat launch system installed this summer at Allan Yorke Park on Lake Tapps in Bonney Lake worked well - unless you were among a handful of unlucky boaters who had to pay the launch fee twice.

The metal poles, or bollards, that block the two launch ramps would retract to let the boaters back their trailers into the water. But after launching, the bollard would go back up, sometimes trapping the trailer at the water's edge and requiring another $8.50 payment to get out.

Gary Leaf, the city's Community Services director, said the city plans to credit those boaters who call to complain.

He said the problem was quickly solved when a third weight sensor was installed in each ramp to make sure the bollard stayed down until the boaters left the launch ramp.

Despite the roughly six-week delay of the boating season on Lake Tapps, Leaf said the city collected $24,387 through Sept. 18. The first credit card fee was collected July 10.

More than 80 percent of the revenue - $20,162 - came from boaters who live outside the city.

With the automatic launch system came a new, higher launch fee. The city used to charge $12 total to launch and retrieve a boat. The money was collected by an attendant. The City Council raised the fee to $17 payable by credit card at the kiosk at the boat launch: $8.50 to launch and $8.50 to retrieve the boat later in the day.

The higher fee did generate some complaints by boaters when it was first proposed, but Leaf said there were no complaints this summer.

One boater was seen trying to push the bollard down with his hands. He failed.

The city also raised the annual boat launch pass for city residents from $5 to $25.

Leaf said the city sold 170 of the credit card passes this summer.

The automatic launch system cost about $86,000, and Leaf expects the city will have no trouble recouping the cost and generating positive revenue.

With a full season, he said, the city expects annual revenues to be about $50,000. The cooler weather also kept boat launches down this summer, he said.

For the first time in recent memory, Pierce County's largest lake wasn't open in time for the Memorial Day weekend.

The main reasons for the slow fill were less spring rain than usual and lower-than-normal temperatures, resulting in slower snow melt in the Cascades.

Lake Tapps is enjoyed by some 2,000 lakeside property owners and an estimated 250,000 annual recreational users.

Mike Archbold: 253-597-8692,


The automatic launch system cost about $86,000, and Leaf expects the city will have no trouble recouping the cost and generating positive revenue.

Automated Equipment Co.

10847 E. Marginal Way S.
Seattle, WA 98168
Phone: 206-767-9080


© Copyright 2002 - , Automated Equipment Co., All rights reserved. Website Design, Hosting and Maintenance by New Tech Web, Inc.