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Boats: Visiting Washington waters

Slow down and give Southern Resident orcas space

Recent legislation changed the approach distances and speeds around Southern Resident orcas. Before heading out on the water, visit Be Whale Wise. Learn about the latest regulations and guidelines in the US and Canada. These changes aim to reduce the noise and disturbance the orcas experience around boats, allowing them to better:

  • Hunt for salmon.
  • Care for their young.
  • Communicate with one another.

Personal Boats (owned by individuals)

Visits of 60 days or less

You don't need a permit to be on Washington waters for up to 60 days, as long as your boat:

  • Is currently registered in another state
  • or
  • Has a current U.S. Coast Guard documentation paper

Visits longer than 60 days

If you'll be on Washington waters for more than 60 days, you must apply for a permit on or before the 60th day of your visit.

How to apply for a permit

To apply for a permit, visit a vehicle/boat licensing office and bring along:

  • Your unexpired state boat registration
  • Identification from your state

Renewing your permit

You may renew the permit once for an additional 60 days. When the renewed permit expires, you must either register your boat in Washington or remove your boat from Washington waters.

Clean your boat before you float

To prevent the spread of aquatic nuisance species, decontaminate your boat, trailer, and gear before entering Washington. For details, see Aquatic invasive species (Department of Fish and Wildlife).

Entity Owned Boats *

* Boats owned by a corporation, LLC, partnership, etc. that are at least 30 feet in length but not more than 164 feet in length:

Visits of 60 days or less

You don't need a permit to be on Washington waters for up to 60 days, as long as your boat:

  • Is currently registered in another state
  • or
  • Has a current U.S. Coast Guard documentation paper

Visits longer than 60 days

If your vessel is at least 30 feet or not more than 164 feet in length, you must apply for a permit on or before the 60th day of your visit. If your vessel is outside of these lengths, you must either register your boat in Washington or remove your boat from Washington waters

How to apply for a permit:

1. Submit an Nonresident Vessel Permit Approval Application to the Department of Revenue (DOR) for approval.

2. Visit a Vehicle/Vessel licensing office and provide:

  • The authorized DOR application above
  • The date the vessel first entered Washington waters
  • Your unexpired state boat registration
  • Valid identification from your state

Renewing your permit

You may renew the permit once in a 36 month period for an additional 60 days. When the renewed permit expires, you must either register your boat in Washington or remove your boat from Washington waters.

Related information

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