Paddle Safe Week is July 23-29

By Washington State Park Boating Program

Washington State Governor Jay Inslee has issued a proclamation declaring the week of July 23-29 to be statewide Paddle Safe Week. In partnership with the Washington State Parks Boating Program, Paddle Safe Week will lead a statewide effort to create a culture of safety around paddle sports. The campaign recognizes that Washington’s diverse waterways require different skills, preparation and safety equipment.

In the last five years, paddlers have come to represent 55% of the statewide recreational boating fatalities. The relatively unstable nature of paddlecraft and lack of safety education have contributed to this shift. The single, most important safety measure to paddle safely is to always wear a life jacket out on the water.

Washington’s diverse waterways require different skills, preparation and safety equipment for paddlers.

We recommend you take courses to learn the laws that apply, emergency procedures, navigation rules and paddling techniques — all of which will enhance your experience.

Not all vessels are created equal and not all paddlers should venture out on any waterway. Make sure your vessel and skill level are suitable for the paddling conditions you’re choosing. Good swimming skills and practice on a small, sheltered lake are recommended before paddling on open waterways.


Know that kayaks, canoes and stand-up paddleboards (SUP) are subject to boating laws and regulations. You are urged to boat responsibly to prevent accidents, minimize impacts, and avoid conflicts with other boaters. Following are guidelines to help you prepare before you head out on your paddling adventure:

Get educated
Know the laws and keep yourself and others safe. At a minimum, take a course to increase your knowledge of paddlesport safety, emergency procedures and navigational rules. You can find classes through local clubs and outfitters, city and county parks and recreation departments and online.