How to get your license: Whitewater river outfitters

Who needs a license?

You must have a whitewater river outfitter license if your business carries, or advertises to carry, for-hire passengers on whitewater sections of Washington rivers.

How to apply

  1. Complete the following forms:
  2. Mail the completed forms with a check or money order for the fees (payable to the Department of Revenue) to:
    State of Washington
    Business Licensing Service
    PO Box 9034
    Olympia, WA 98507-9034

Please remember to enclose all necessary forms and fees so your license won’t be delayed.


  • You must provide proof of liability insurance for your whitewater river outfitter business when you apply for a license. The proof must include:
    • Insurance company name.
    • Policy number.
    • Effective dates that show current coverage.
    • Coverage for all river guides and employees used by your business.
    • Minimum coverage of $300,000 per claim, per occurrence.
    • The certificate holder as:
      State of Washington
      Business Licensing Service
      PO Box 9034
      Olympia, WA 98507
  • You must ensure that each vessel on a whitewater river trip is operated by a guide who meets the requirements set in RCW 79A.60.430(2). Qualified guides must:
    • Be at least 18 years old.
    • Successfully complete a lifesaving training course that meet the State Parks and Recreation Commission standards.
    • Complete a guide training program on whitewater rivers conducted by a qualified guide instructor.
      • Training instructors must have traveled at least 1,500 river miles, with 750 river miles as a guide.
      • If a trainee wants a proof of completion, the training instructor must issue it.
    • Complete at least 1 trip on the entire section of a whitewater river before carrying passengers for hire in a vessel on that section of river.
  • Commercial outfitters must have a federal permit for trips in federally-regulated areas. To find out more, contact the US Forest Service: 360.956.2400.
  • You also may need to comply with federal Uninspected Passenger Vessel Licensing. To find out more, contact the US Coast Guard: 206.220.7210.

Post your license

You must post a license must be posted at each location where you operate. You may not begin this business activity until you receive the required license.

Address changes

If you move or your address changes, please contact us to update your license.

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