Patrols will target paddle boarders
Last updated 9/1/2019 at 3:01pm
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 paddle boarders. The goal is to educate them about laws and safe practices.
“Stand-up paddle boarders 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 is 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 paddle boards – 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, in fog or in 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 paddle boarder without an appropriate life jacket and sounding device could be charged with two violations for a possible fine totaling $198.
For more information about paddle sport safety, visit: http://www.paddlesafewa.org.
About the 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 http://www.parks.wa.gov/boating.