To provide for
safe and enjoyable waterways within Skagit County, through continuing
education, vessel safety inspections and enforcement action as may
The Skagit County
Sheriff's office boat patrol unit consists of five, fulltime, commissioned
sheriff's deputies and one patrol sergeant. This unit is responsible
for all sheriff's office responsibilities on the waters of Skagit
County. The deputies are assigned on a part time basis to the boat
patrol unit and are available to respond as the situation requires.
In addition, these same deputies are regularly scheduled for weekend
boat patrol in the summer months between the Memorial and Labor Day
All of the deputies
assigned to the boating unit have been certified by the State of Washington
parks department after passing a basic, one week boating academy.
In addition many of the assigned deputies have received additional
training in, boat accident investigation, search and rescue operations,
intoxicated boater enforcement and waterborne tactical operations.
The Skagit County
Sheriff's office boating unit has been accredited by the State of
Washington since 1988. It is largely funded by monies collected by
the State of Washington from boat registration taxes with the money
then disbursed to all accredited boat patrol programs throughout the
1) 1997 21' Safe
Boat rigid aluminum hull with a foam collar powered by a 200 XL Mercury
2) 1991 18' Koffler
river boat aluminum hull, flat bottom design powered by a 105 hp Johnson
outboard motor with jet pump
3) 1994 Arctic
Cat personal watercraft
- All boats must
meet the requirements of applicable State and Federal law and U.S.
Coast Guard (U.S.C.G.) regulations.
- Motor Boats
and Personal Watercraft (Less than 26' in length):
for vessels 16' and over, must be carried on board. Registration
numbers must be permanently attached to each side of the hull
in 3" contrasting letters/numbers. Vessels under 16' with
10hp or less not used on waters subject to U.S. jurisdiction are
1) Personal Floatation
Devices (PFD's) for each person on board must be carried. All PFD's
must be the appropriate size for the intended occupant. Vessels 16'
or longer must carry a throwable floatation device on board.
2) Sound Signals-
one whistle, horn or device capable of producing whistle blasts
3) Fire Extinguisher-
Required, if fuel tanks are permanently installed or in closed compartments.
4) Visual Distress
Signals- Coastal Waters Only. Vessels less than 16' in length must
carry night signals if operating in hours of darkness. Vessels over
16' must carry day and night signals at all times.
Lights- Required for night operation and must conform to U.S.C.G.
regulation. 6) Ventilation- Closed fuel compartments must be adequately
7) Backfire Flame
Arrestor- Gasoline engines, other than outboards must have a backfire
flame arrestor on the carburetor.
is allowed only on Big Lake, Clear Lake, Lake Campbell and Lake Cavanaugh.
2) All water-skiing
shall be in a counter-clockwise direction and at least 150' away from
shore, docks, etc.
3) When moving
from shore, dock or float, the skier will travel at an angle between
45-60 degrees from the shoreline on the right hand side of the skier.
vessels towing a person(s) on waterskis or similar devices shall be
occupied by an operator and observer. The observer must be at least
ten (10) years of age.
5) The observer
must continuously observe the person(s) being towed and shall display
a "skier down flag" whenever the person(s) are in the water.
A "skier down flag" should be a bright red flag and visible
from all directions.
6) All water-skiers
must wear a U.S.C.G. approved PFD.
is prohibited ½ hour after sunset until ½ hour after
8) No person engaged
in water-skiing shall conduct themselves in a negligent manner that
endangers or is likely to endanger any person or property.
1) The speed limit
is 40 mph on Big Lake, Campbell Lake and Lake Cavanaugh. There is
a 25 mph limit on Clear Lake with no personal watercraft (pwc) allowed.
There is a 5 mph speed limit on Lake McMurray and Lake Sixteen. Swinomish
Slough is a "no wake zone."
2) No vessel shall
be operated closer than 150' to any shoreline, dock, float or other
vessel, except at idle or "no wake" speed.
3) No vessel shall
be operated in a negligent or reckless manner that would endanger
persons or property. Riding on bow, gunwales, or cabin top is prohibited.
4) Operation of
a vessel under the influence of intoxicating liquor and/or drugs is
5) The minimum
age to operate a motorboat powered by a motor of 10hp or more is fourteen
(14) years of age, unless accompanied by a person legally capable
of operating such a vessel. No minor of ten (10) years of age or younger
shall operate any vessel.
6) No vessel shall
be equipped with any motor beyond its safe power capacity. The vessels
exhaust shall be equipped with a muffler in proper working condition.
7) Swimming activities
beyond 150' of the shoreline shall be accompanied by an attendant
in a boat.
8) Scuba divers
must mark their area of activity with a red/white dive flag. Vessels
must keep at least 150' from a displayed diver's flag.
9) The operator
of every vessel involved in an accident is required by law to file
a report in writing whenever a boating accident results in loss of
life, injury which requires medical treatment beyond first aid, property
damage over $500 or the disappearance of a person.
10) It is illegal
to throw litter overboard in any waterway. Recreational vessels must
carry a litterbag.
For a complete text
of the Boating Regulations, contact the:
Skagit County Sheriff's Boat Patrol
600 S. 3rd St., Room 100
Mount Vernon, Wa
Or call (360) 416-1911