To ensure your safety on the water as well as others, it is important that boaters be familiar with the Regulations of Recreational Vessel operation. Take the time to learn the regulations related to vessel length, capacity, proper fueling, and how to secure a boat to a trailer. Learn the right way to launch a boat into the water, and familiarize yourself with the navigational rules and steps for handling bad weather and boating emergencies. Prepare a float plan, one that includes your contact information and the logistical details of your route. Remember to leave the plan with family or friends as well as the marina.
Safe navigation is the responsibility of all boaters. Even though no vessel will have absolute right-of-way over other boats, there are rules that every operator should know and follow. To avoid collisions on the water, boaters should follow there basic rules:
Anchor a vessel in the traveled portion of a river or channel that will prevent or interfere with any other vessels passing through
Operate any vessel in a way that it will interfere with the safe navigation of other vessels
Moor or attach a vessel to a buoy (other than a mooring buoy), beacon, light, or any other navigational aid placed by authorities on public waters
Move, displace, tamper with, damage, or destroy any navigational aid
Spilling oil or a hazardous substance to state waters is illegal. Polluters can be fined up to $10,000 per violation or $100,000 for each day the oil poses a risk to the environment, or even more if the spill was intentional. Visit Washington Department of Ecology to learn more.