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Posted on: August 21, 2019

Safety emphasis patrols will target stand up paddleboarders Labor Day weekend

State Parks Boating Program reminds paddlers to be safe

OLYMPIA – Aug. 21, 2019 – Marine law enforcement agencies on Washington state’s marine and fresh waterways will conduct safety emphasis patrols over Labor Day weekend — specifically targeting stand up paddleboarders. The goal is to educate them about laws and safe practices.

“Stand up paddleboarders need to know that as soon as their board leaves a designated swim area or goes beyond the surf, it is considered a vessel and therefore subject to recreational boating laws,” said Rob Sendak, State Parks boating law administrator.

What are the laws?
Every vessel, no matter the size — including kayaks, canoes and stand up paddleboards — is required by federal and Washington state laws to carry the following:

  • Life jackets
    • People 13 years of age or older must carry a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket in good condition. The life jacket must be the right size and type for the person wearing it.
    • All children 12 years of age or younger must always wear their life jacket while on board.
    • Inflatable life jackets are authorized only for people 16 years of age or older.
  • Sounding device – horn, whistle or bell.
  • White all-around navigation light – during low visibility such as dusk to dawn, fog or heavy rain.
  • Visual distress signals (such as flares) – required only on federal waterways.

“The law requires people to carry a life jacket. We strongly recommend people choose to always wear one, along with a leash, for maximum safety on the water,” Sendak added.

The penalty for failing to carry the proper safety equipment is a civil infraction punishable by a fine of $99 for each violation. For example, a stand up paddleboarder without an appropriate life jacket and sounding device could be charged with two violations for a possible fine totaling $198.

For more information about paddlesport safety, visit: www.paddlesafewa.org.

About the Washington State Parks Boating Program
The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission administers the state’s Boating Program, which provides leadership in recreational boating safety and environmental education and outreach. The goal of the program is to reduce accidents and fatalities, increase stewardship of Washington waterways, and keep recreational boating a safe, accessible and enjoyable pastime. For more information on the Boating Program, visit www.parks.wa.gov/boating.

News media contacts:
Toni Droscher, Communications Office, (360) 902-8604
Rob Sendak, Boating Program administrator, (360) 902-8836

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About Washington State Parks

The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission manages more than 100 state parks and properties totaling approximately 120,000 acres. The Commission provides a variety of recreation opportunities for citizens and provides stewardship protection for a diverse array of natural, cultural and historic resources. State Parks’ statewide programs include long-distance trails, boating safety and winter recreation.

 News release number: 19-065

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