Boating Program

Legislation created the boating program in 1983 and made Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission responsible for administering the program. The boating program ensures boating laws and regulations are enforced on all of Washington's waterways, provides recreational boating safety education and information as well as conveniently located boater septic pump-out facilities.

Funding for these programs comes from grants, registration fees and fuel taxes paid for by boaters. All boater paid fees go back to the boaters in the form of boating access facilities, boating safety education and law enforcement. 

The State Parks Boating Program encourages you to have fun as you head out on the water and be smart. There's a lot to learn and we're here to help you! Explore the website, if you don't find what you need feel free to contact us at (360) 902-8555 oemail

​Boating safety

The following actions are known to be the top reasons for fatalities and accidents on the water. 

  • Failure to WEAR life jackets, especially in small boats
  • Boating under the influence of alcohol and drugs
  • Failure to follow navigation "rules of the road"
  • Operator inexperience, inattention, unsafe speeds and improper lookout
  • Inability to call for rescue when an accident happens

What's Hot

  1. U.S. Coast Guard Mobile App


    The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) created a mobile app for recreational boaters. The app features an Emergency Assistance button which, with locations services enabled, will call the nearest USCG command center.
  1. Cold Water Can Kill
  2. Understanding Weather
  3. Communications Equipment
  4. Designated Skipper
  5. Life Jackets
  6. Paddlesport Safety

The water is cold 

Don't be fooled by warm air temperatures because in Washington many waterways are below 60 degrees. Even lakes and rivers. Water under 60 degrees can kill you if you fall in it unexpectedly. It's not hypothermia you need to worry about. If you survive long enough to get hypothermia, you've done well; most drown in the first few minutes from
 cold water shock.You need to take caution and be prepared. Especially if you're in a boat under 21 feet (kayak, canoe, fishing boat, etc.). Small boats have a higher risk of capsizing. 

Being prepared for accidental immersion in cold water means you wear your life jacket and dress for water immersion

Since water is approximately 25 times more efficient than air at drawing heat away from your body, you need protective apparel to prevent excessive heat loss. Start with a moisture-wicking layer next to the skin. Synthetic fabrics such as nylon, polyester and polypropylene don’t absorb water and move moisture from your skin to outer layers. Merino wool wicks moisture and is comfortable against the skin, unlike traditional wool. Do not wear cotton—it is comfortable but absorbs water, dries slowly and loses its insulating value when wet.

​You can find water temperature information on the National Oceanic and Atmosphere Association website.