Safety emphasis patrols will target paddleboarders Labor Day weekend

Boards are considered vessels subject to recreational boating laws once they leave a designated area

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 paddleboarders.

According to the Washington State Parks Boating Program, every vessel, including kayaks, canoes and stand up paddleboards, are required by state laws to carry life jackets, a sounding device, a white all-around navigation light, and visual distress signals.

People 13 years of age or older must carry a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket. All children 12 years of age or younger must always wear their life jacket while onboard. Inflatable jackets are authorized only for people 16 years of age or older.

“The law requires people to carry a life jacket,” State Parks Boating Law Administrator Rob Sendak said. “We strongly recommend people choose to always wear one, along with a leash, for maximum safety on the water.”

The penalty for failing to carry the proper safety equipment is a civil infraction punishable by a fine of $99 for each violation. For more information about paddlesport safety, visit www.paddlesafewa.org.

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