Washington state’s waterways are a paddler’s dream. Lakes, rivers, bays, estuaries and the Pacific Ocean provide recreational opportunities for paddlers of all skill levels and interests.
Before you head out, be sure to know what equipment you're required to carry by law or how certain water conditions may affect your ability to control the vessel.
Washington’s diverse waterways require different skills, preparation and safety equipment for paddlers. While many paddlecraft are easy to use without training, we recommend you take courses to improve your paddling technique, learn the laws that apply and become a safer paddler — all of which will enhance your experience.
During Paddle Safe Week, July 20 through 28, State Parks will post regular messages about safe paddling on its social media channels — Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. We encourage you to share your paddlesport photos and use the following hashtags: #PaddleSafeWeek, #PaddleSmart, #PaddleSafe, #PaddleSober, #PaddlePrepared, #PaddleToBeSeen
No matter what – we recommend everyone take a safety course before paddling. You can find classes through local clubs and outfitters, city and county parks and recreation departments and online.
The following two online courses are approved by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators, a nonprofit organization that works to develop public policy for recreational boating safety. The paddlesports safety courses cover the laws and basics for your adventures on the water, a must for anyone looking to start paddling or refresh their knowledge.
To get more information about paddlesports, the American Canoe Association (ACA) has material and videos on their website. For example, you can learn how to use a stand up paddle board (SUP) correctly by watching the ACA's SUP video.
Washington Kayak Club www.washingtonkayakclub.org
Spokane Canoe and Kayak Club www.sckc.ws
Lower Columbia Canoe Club www.l-ccc.org
Vashon Island Paddlers www.groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/Vashonislandpaddlers/info
Wenatchee Row and Paddle Club www.wenatcheepaddle.org
University Kayak Club www.students.washington.edu/ukc/wordpress
Sound Rowers Open Water Rowing and Paddling Club www.soundrowers.org/wp
Seattle Outrigger Canoe Club www.seattleoutrigger.com
Lake Washington Rowing Club www.lakewashingtonrowing.com
Washington Recreational River Runners www.wrrr.org
Paddle Trails Canoe Club www.paddletrails.org
Boeing Whitewater and Touring Club www.bewet.org
Seattle Sea Kayak Club www.seattlekayak.org
Olympic Peninsula Paddlers www.olympicpeninsulapaddlers.com
South Sound Area Kayakers www.ssak.org
North Sound Sea Kayaking Association www.nsska.com
Olympic Kayak Club www.olympickayakclub.com
Whatcom Association of Kayak Enthusiasts www.wakekayak.org
Seattle Canoe and Kayak Club www.seattlecanoekayak.club
Northwest Whitewater Association www.northwestwhitewater.org