Recreational Boating Information for the Northwest
Vessel Towing, Ungroundings, Salvage and more:
9 Emergency Signals & Devices
24 Hour Emergency Response.
*Only call when a vessel is missing or in danger.
911 is always the fastest way to get assistance but only in a life threatening or imminent danger situation.
- Seattle area | 206.730.7227
- Gulf Islands | 250.883.7865
- Cornet Bay | 360.675.7900
- Pt Hadlock | 360.301.9764
- Friday Harbor | 800.391.4869
- Pt Townsend | 360.774.6825
VHF Distress Calls - CH16
Transmit a May-Day distress call only when imminent danger threatens life or property and immediate assistance is required.
Transmit a Pan-Pan ("Pahn Pahn") urgency call when the safety of a person or vessel is in jeopardy, but the danger is not life threatening. Transmission of a Pan Pan follows the same format as given for a May Day below. Transmit DSC Alert if available then May-Day on VHF CH. 16 while you still have power.
- Activate DSC Alert if available
- May-Day, May-Day, May-Day, this is 'Vessel Name", "Vessel Name", Vessel Name" - M.M.S.I. (number) & call sign when option is available
- May Day, 'Vessel Name' is at Position (Lat and Long), or distance / bearing from landmark
- We are (describe nature of emergency)
- We require (describe nature of assistance needed)
- Aboard are (describe number of people, age and condition if relevant)
- We have (describe safety equipment)
- 'Vessel Name' is (description: length, sail/power, design type, hull color, trim color)
If there is no response after a few moments, repeat the above message.
City / County Harbor Patrol, fire & rescue units:
- law enforcement for aquatic & marine activities
- Summer boat patrols & year round emergency response
- Sheriff's Office Marine Unit responds to incidents 24 / 7
- Sheriff’s (MRDU) operates in Puget Sound, lakes & rivers
- Providing regional law enforcement & rescue
- Sheriff's Marine Unit covers the sound, canal & lakes
- Marine enforcement, rescue & public assistance, S. Lk Wash.
- Water safety education and enforcement
- Sheriff's Office Marine Services & Dive Team
- Enforcement, education and public assistance
- Sheriff's Office marine enforcement including SAR
- Fire Dept operates 4 vessels in Elliott Bay & Lk Union/Wash
- 24 hour operations, based in Elliott bay & Lake Union
- Boat / Marine patrol, search and rescue unit
- Marine enforcement unit including SAR
- Operates 3 vessels, Tacoma waterfront to the Narrows.
- Unit provides patrol, security, and rescue/recovery services
- Marine enforcement, rescue along with dive rescue unit
Washington State Boat Accident Report Infomation
Washington State law requires the operator of a
recreational vessel involved in an accident to file a
An accident report must be filed when:
- Injury occurs which requires medical treatment beyond first aid
- A person disappears from a vessel under circumstances that indicate death or injury
- Property damage is in excess of $2,000, or there is complete loss of a vessel
If there is an injury, disappearance or death, a report must be submitted within 48 hours. Reports in other accidents must be submitted within 10 days. If the operator cannot submit the report, the owner of the vessel is responsible.
Reports must be submitted to the law enforcement agency that has jurisdiction where the accident occurred. Call (360) 902-8555 for more information regarding jurisdiction.