It’s finally sunny after a long, dark and soggy winter, and you are probably itching to get out on the water! If you plan on manning the helm, make sure that you are equipped with a Boater’s Education Card. All Washington State boaters born after January 1, 1955 must possess a Washington State Boater Education Card if they operate a boat with at least 15 horsepower. There are exemptions to this requirement (listed in RCW 79A.60.640), but let’s just say that unless you are a commercial fisherman or a member of the U.S. Coast Guard with a marine license, you’ll need a Boater’s Card.
How do you get your card? Go to http://parks.state.wa.us/442/Mandatory-Boater-Education for approved boater education classes and step by step instructions for obtaining the card. You can attend classes or take an online course on your laptop at the beach.
Boaters must possess their card while boating and have it available for inspection by an enforcement officer. If you don’t have a driver’s license, can you get a boater’s card? Yes. In fact, even if your driver’s license is suspended or revoked you can still obtain a boater’s card. Driving a boat is still deemed less dangerous than driving a car apparently.
Although paddle sports do not require a boater’s card, all participants are responsible for learning the applicable state laws and regulations. Be safe and be smart on the water. Learn more at https://www.boat-ed.com/paddlesports/.
Ken Selander is a Seattle personal injury attorney who handles boating accidents. As a boater, wakeboarder and wakesurfer, Ken is aware how fun, and how dangerous water sports can be. If you were injured by a careless or negligent boater, call Ken at 206.723.8200.