Thurston County Connection Newsletter
Thurston County Connection
Thurston County Connection
December, 2014
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Changes at Thurston County Superior Court

(More) Changes at Thurston County Superior Court

County Benefits from “JBLM Day of Service”

It’s official!

Health Systems Doing a Good Job of Tracking Illnesses

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Perfection is Reality for County Waste Water Treatment Plant

Less Leftovers, More Joy

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 Have a Fun and Safe, Boating Season!

A message from Deputy Jeff Norton of the Marine Services Unit

It’s that time of year when folks get their boat engines tuned up, dust off the water skies and head for the lakes. But in addition getting ready to have fun, you should also make sure you are prepared for a safe outing on local waters.

Thurston County has regulations regarding recreational boating on all Thurston County lakes and marine waters patrolled by the Marine Services Unit of the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office.

Education is one of the most important aspects of boating safely and responsibly. As the boat operator you are responsible not only for operating the vessel safely but also for having the required safety equipment on board and in good working condition. Becoming familiar with the regulations for your vessel and making sure your vessel is properly equipped will help you prepare for a safe and fun boating season.

State law requires boat operators 50 years and younger to carry a Washington State Boater Education card when operating a vessel of 15 horsepower or more in Washington waterways. Additional information about Washington’s Mandatory Boater Education requirement or when the next course may be offered in Thurston County can be obtained online here.

Here are some basic things to remember before heading out-

  • Make sure your vessel is currently licensed and in good working condition
  • Ensure that your vessel is properly outfitted with safety equipment based on vessel type and size
  • You must have one wearable (of appropriate size) US Coast Guard approved personal floatation device for each person on board the vessel
  • Children 12 and under are required to wear life jackets on vessels 19 feet and under
  • Make sure the vessel is equipped with a sound producing device (e.g. blow whistle or horn)
  • If towing a person, there must be two people on board the vessel and a bright red or orange skier down flag
  • Know the speed limit and skiing times of the lake you’re visiting
  • Stay 200 feet from all shorelines, boat launches and swim areas and 100 feet from all other vessels while operating over five miles per hour
  • You must be at least 16 years of age to operate a personal watercraft legally
  • You must carry a Washington State Boater Education card
  • Be aware of your surroundings and be courteous to others when operating a vessel
  • No drugs or alcohol. It is illegal to operate a vessel while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.


Over the next several months, the Thurston County Sherriff’s Office will be patrolling all waterways and conducting boat inspections to ensure you and your vessel are safe to be on the water. So be prepared before heading out. Boating safely and responsibly will help make the 2014 boating season a success.

If you have questions you may contact Marine Services Deputy Jeff Norton at 786-5500. Thurston County Code Title 16, Regulations and Restrictions on the use of County Waters can be viewed online at this Web Page.

By Jeff Norton

Deputy Jeff Norton patrols an area lake. Deputy Jeff Norton patrols an area lake.