Bulletin: WA000029

Date:
December 09, 1991
To:
All Washington Agents
RE:
Inner Harbor Lines

Dear Associates:

In a recent case a marina owner on Lake Washington challenged the location of the inner harbor line. Davidson v. State, 802 P.2d 1274 (Wash. 1991). The case provides a review of aquatic land boundaries.

In 1905 the state sold "all shore lands of the second class in front of or adjacent to" lots 1 and 2 of section 11. Article 15 of the Washington State Constitution established a Harbor Line Commission to set inner and outer harbor lines in certain navigable waters. The area between the two lines is the "harbor area" which is owned by the state and can be leased to private persons. No rights may exist in private persons beyond the outer harbor line. The inner harbor line is the water side boundary of shore land or tide land.

In this case the inner harbor line was established at a shallow depth of 4 to 6 feet by the Harbor Line commission in 1921. The marina as constructed encroached over that line into the harbor area. The current owner was told by the state that he could either remove the encroachment or enter into a lease.

The owner declined the state's offer and filed suit. He argued that the location of the inner harbor line was erroneous and that it should have been established at the "line of navigability". The line of navigability is an arbitrary point beyond which the water is deep enough for commercial navigation.

The Supreme Court ruled that the inner harbor line is often coincident with the line of navigation but not always. Under the facts of this case the Harbor Line Commission had the discretion to locate it where it did.

THIS BULLETIN IS FURNISHED TO INFORM YOU OF CURRENT DEVELOPMENTS. AS A REMINDER, YOU ARE CHARGED WITH KNOWLEDGE OF THE CONTENT ON VIRTUAL UNDERWRITER  AS IT EXISTS FROM TIME TO TIME AS IT APPLIES TO YOU, AS WELL AS ANY OTHER INSTRUCTIONS. OUR UNDERWRITING AGREEMENTS DO NOT AUTHORIZE OUR ISSUING AGENTS TO ENGAGE IN SETTLEMENTS OR CLOSINGS ON BEHALF OF STEWART TITLE GUARANTY COMPANY. THIS BULLETIN IS NOT INTENDED TO DIRECT YOUR ESCROW OR SETTLEMENT PRACTICES OR TO CHANGE PROVISIONS OF APPLICABLE UNDERWRITING AGREEMENTS. CONFIDENTIAL, PROPRIETARY, OR NONPUBLIC PERSONAL INFORMATION SHOULD NEVER BE SHARED OR DISSEMINATED EXCEPT AS ALLOWED BY LAW. IF APPLICABLE STATE LAW OR REGULATION IMPOSES ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS, YOU SHOULD CONTINUE TO COMPLY WITH THOSE REQUIREMENTS.

References

Bulletins Replaced:
None
Related Bulletins:
None
Underwriting Manual:
22.00 Waters
Exceptions Manual:
WA Wetlands
Forms:
None