Boating Program

State Parks administers Washington state's Boating Program. The benefits and services provided by this program serve more than visitors of State Parks; they serve all people recreating on Washington's waterways.

The program's
 goal is to ensure the public has a safe, secure, and enjoyable recreational boating experience by implementing programs that minimize the loss of life, personal injury, and property damage while cooperating with environmental efforts. 

The Boating Program provides safety education and information, law enforcement training for marine patrol units, and conveniently located boater septic pump-out facilities. Funding for these programs comes from federal grants, registration fees and fuel taxes paid for by boaters. No state general fund tax dollars are used to support this program or any of its services. All boater paid fees go back to the boaters in the form of boating access facilities, boating safety education and law enforcement. 

Summer is here and the water is inviting 

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 or email.

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
  • No ability 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.

​Boating safety alerts

  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 mean 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.

Boating paddlesports panels have fun 1200x900
Paddlesports Safety Tip: Life Jackets
Paddlesports Safety Tip: Know Your Limits
Paddlesports Safety Tip: Gear Essentials
Paddlesports Safety Tip: Changing Weather
Paddlesports Safety Tip: Take a Class
Paddlesports Safety Tip: Dress for Immersion
Paddlesports Safety Tip: Phone a Friend
Paddlesports Safety Tip: Make Yourself Seen