Washington State – Boating Safety

OLYMPIA – Sept. 10, 2013 – Washington boaters are invited to learn how to boat safely this year and qualify for prizes. The Washington State Parks Boating Safety Program and the Seattle Seahawks are launching a contest to highlight boater education.

Although summer is coming to a close, there are still committed boaters on the water during the fall and winter months. State Parks urges boaters to be prepared, take a boater safety class to enhance their skills and learn how to be safe on the water, get a boater education card and enter to win prizes from the Seattle Seahawks, including a VIP game package. Washington state boaters who take a boater safety class and apply for a boater education card will automatically be entered to win prizes, including an autographed football and autographed replica jersey. The grand prize is a Seahawks VIP game package and includes four tickets to the Dec. 29 Seahawks game at CenturyLink Field, an autographed replica helmet, two adult-sized life jackets and other prizes.

“We encourage everyone to participate in the contest, but the most important thing to do is take a boating safety course. Both novice and experienced boaters alike can benefit from boating safety education,” said Don Hoch, State Parks director.

The Boater Education Sweepstakes can be found at Seahawks. Prize winners will be selected beginning Oct. 7, with the grand prize winner selected on Nov. 7. Winners will be notified by phone or e-mail. No purchase is required to participate in the contest.

The goal of the State Parks Boating Safety Program is to educate and inform the public about the importance of boating safety. The program’s main purpose is to increase the public’s awareness of safe boating practices and life jacket wear, which helps to decrease the number of boating fatalities and makes Washington’s waterways safer for all boaters.

The boater education card is not a license and is mandatory for boaters ages 12 to 50 years when operating motorboats with 15 horsepower or greater. In 2014, the card will be required for all boaters. Boaters born on or before Jan. 1, 1955, are exempt from this law.

To get a boater education card, boaters must first take a safety course approved by Washington State Parks in a classroom, online or through a home-study course. Once boaters have taken a class and passed the test, they need to send a completed application, certificate of completion and a one-time $10 fee to State Parks. For more information, contact the Boating Program at (360) 902-8555.

The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission manages a diverse system of more than 100 state parks and recreation programs, including long-distance trails, boating safety and winter recreation. Washington State Parks turned 100 years old on March 19, 2013, and will celebrate with events in parks all over the state, all year long.