Who Enforces Boating Laws?
Washington State Park rangers, Fish and Wildlife officers, city police officers, deputy sheriffs, and all other officers with law enforcement authority enforce the boating laws of Washington. USCG officers also patrol and have enforcement authority on all waters under the jurisdiction of the United States.
- Officers have the authority to stop and board your vessel and direct it to a suitable pier or anchorage in order to check that you are complying with state and federal laws.
- It is illegal to refuse to follow the directive of a person with law enforcement authority. An operator who has received a visual or audible signal from a law enforcement officer must bring his or her vessel to a stop and allow the officer to come alongside.
- The officer may warn you about a storm or caution you about the way you are operating your vessel.
- Always remember that a key job of these officers is to ensure your safety on the water.
Vessel Safety Inspection
Your local marine law enforcement officers will check that the required safety equipment is on board your vessel and in good condition. Vessels with all the required equipment receive a Washington State Parks Marine Safety Inspection decal. This decal:
- Lets others know your vessel is equipped safely.
- Gives you the security of knowing your vessel is safe.
- Does not excuse operating violations.