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Life jackets top violations for boating anglers

Saturday is one of the busiest days of the year for the Spokane County Sheriff’s Marine Unit.

“On the opening day of fishing season there will be 100 boats on a lake and we’ll write tickets all day long for failure to have a lifejacket in the boat for each person aboard,” said Deputy Jim Ebel.

The most common boating safety violations in Spokane County involve lifejackets, he said.

“It can’t be just any lifejacket. It must fit the person and be serviceable, no rips or missing straps, etc., or you’ll get a ticket.”

“The second most common violation we write up is lack of a state boater education card,” he said.

A free Boater Education class that’s required for Washington boat drivers are being offered monthly by Spokane County marine deputies.

The next scheduled classes are on May 14, June 11, June 25, July 16, Aug. 13 and Sept. 10. The classes run 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Sheriff’s Training Center, 6011 N. Chase Rd.

Register online at tinyurl.com/SpoBoat.

State law requires Washington residents born after Jan. 1, 1955, to have a card showing they have completed a certified boater education course while operating any vessel with 15 or more horsepower, said Sgt. Jim Gladden.

“That includes all personal watercraft,” he said.

The course also can be taken online through Washington State Parks. However, taking the class locally allows the deputies to offer insight into Spokane County’s special rules.


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