How to get your license: Whitewater river outfitters

Who needs a license?

Any business that carries, or advertises to carry, for–hire passengers on whitewater sections of Washington rivers.


  • 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.
  • You must have a federal permit for trips in federally regulated areas. For more information, contact the US Forest Service at 360.956.2400.
  • You also may need to comply with federal Un–inspected Passenger Vessel Licensing. For more information, contact the US Coast Guard at 206.220.7210.

How to apply

Note: We issue this license, but it's processed by the Department of Revenue’s Business Licensing Service (BLS). BLS prints it on the business license they provide. They refer to licenses issued by us as endorsements to the business license.

Apply online with the Department of Revenue

What you'll need

  • Supporting documents shown below, ready for upload.
  • Visa, MasterCard or American Express credit/debit card (transaction fee charged) or bank account information for E–check to pay:
    • Applicable BLS fees
    • Whitewater river outfitters license fee

Want to apply by mail?

Supporting documents for your application

Proof of liability insurance including:

  • 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

Post your license

You must post a license 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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