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How to Boat in Seattle

To enjoy boating in Seattle, make sure to obtain a Boater Education Card, familiarize yourself with local boating laws and regulations, practice safety precautions, and launch your boat at designated locations while respecting restricted areas.


Obtain a Boater Education Card: If you were born after January 1, 1955, and plan to operate a motorized boat with 15 horsepower or greater, you need to complete a boater education course and obtain a Boater Education Card. The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission offers online courses for this purpose.  Ahoy will provide you with a free boating card if you do not have one!

Register Your Boat: If your boat has a motor, make sure to register it with the Washington State Department of Licensing. This includes paying the necessary fees and obtaining registration decals.

Familiarize Yourself with Boating Laws: Understand the boating laws and regulations in Seattle and Washington state, including speed limits, navigation rules, required safety equipment, and no-wake zones. You can find this information on the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission website.

Practice Safety Precautions: Prioritize safety by wearing life jackets, maintaining a safe speed, and keeping a proper lookout while boating. Be aware of weather conditions and navigate with caution.

Launching and Docking: Familiarize yourself with the local boat launch locations in Seattle, such as the South Lake Union Park, Magnuson Park, or Andrews Bay Boat Launch. Follow the proper procedures for launching and docking your boat, ensuring you are considerate of other boaters.

Pay Attention to Restricted Areas: Be aware of any restricted or prohibited boating areas, including wildlife conservation zones, swimming areas, and security zones around certain landmarks or events. Respect these boundaries to avoid fines or penalties.


Moorage and Marinas: If you need a place to keep your boat, research and contact marinas or moorage facilities in Seattle to inquire about availability, rates, and any required permits or agreements.


Stay Informed about Conditions: Stay updated on weather forecasts, tides, and current conditions before heading out on the water. This information will help you plan your boating activities safely.​

Remember, boating responsibly and respecting the environment are essential. Always follow the guidelines, be mindful of other boaters, and enjoy your time exploring Seattle's beautiful waterways.

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