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Thurston County Lakes

Long Lake Boating Safety Rules

wear a lifevestThurston County has specific regulations regarding boating operations and water safety on lakes. Below are key provisions of Chapter 16.04 as it applies to Long Lake:

  • For the first 30 days of fishing season (fishing season opens April 27 this year) the speed limit is 5 mph around-the-clock. The rest of the year, watercraft can travel up to 45 mph in open basins EXCEPT at night and in the morning, when the speed limit is 5 mph. (The 5 mph limit applies after 8 p.m. or official sunset, whichever comes first, to 11 a.m. in the morning. (The U.S.  Naval Observatory Web site allows viewers to estimate sunrise and sunset times.)
  • After sunset, all crafts must use proper running lights.
  • Crafts operating over 5 mph must be at least 200 feet off the shoreline. This must be observed because swimmers and nonmotorized craft tend to gather within the 200-foot safety zone. This rule also reduces the impact of wakes upon shore banks.
  • Crafts operating over 5 mph, including personal watercraft or "jet skis," must also remain at least 100 feet away from all other craft and persons.
  • All watercraft must travel in a counter-clockwise direction.
  • All water skiers must have at least three people: a driver, an observer, and a skier. The observer is required to watch the skier at all times and to use a red or orange flag to signal when a skier is down in the water. All water skiers are required to wear an approved flotation device.
  • Personal flotation devices must be on-board all watercraft, with one device required for each person and easily accessible. Children 12 years old and younger must wear a personal flotation device at all times if traveling on a vessel that is shorter than 19 feet.
  • All personal watercraft (or "jet ski") operators must wear an approved flotation device.
  • It is illegal to operate any craft while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Don't forget to check your boat for Eurasian Watermilfoil!  Click here for more information from the Washington State Department of Ecology.

Contact Us

 Staff contact: Janie Civille (360) 786-5830. E-mail: civillj@co.thurston.wa.us


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