The Times - Serving Waitsburg, Dayton and the Touchet Valley


Safe Boating Week is May 18-24

State parks boating program provides tips and resources


OLYMPIA—Last year, there were 103 reported boating accidents with 21 fatalities and 57 injuries, with over 70 percent of those taking place between May and August, according to Washington’s recreational boating accident data.

The Washington State Parks Boating Program recommends the following safety tips and resources.

Many recreational boaters in Washington must complete an approved boating education course and carry a card. Even those not required to carry cards can take a safety course to increase their safety knowledge. Learn more at

Local marine law enforcement have certified vessel examiners who will perform a free vessel safety check. Checks are performed dockside or at a boat ramp and take 15 to 30 minutes. There is no charge and no consequences for not passing. Learn more or schedule a check at

All vessels, including kayaks and stand-up paddleboards are required to have one property fitted Coast Guard-approved life jacket for each person onboard. All children, age 12 and younger are always required to wear one. Learn more at

Boaters should carry two forms of communication that will work when wet, such as a whistle, waterproof cell phone or VHF marine radio. Flares, a signal mirror and an air horn are also recommended, as are personal locater beacons (PLBs). Read more on communications at

Stay sober. Washington state’s Boating Under the Influence (BUI) law applies to all boats including kayaks, canoes, rowboats and inflatable fishing rafts. Learn more at

It’s important to check and understand the weather including wind and wave forecasts and tide and current conditions. Learn more at

Falling into water under 60 degrees in dangerous and many of Washington’s water remain below 60 degrees all year, even during hot weather. The biggest risk is not hypothermia, but cold-water shock, which occurs in the first stage of immersion. Learn more at

For more information on the Washington State Boating Program visit


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