Boats and Employee Safety

Ferry on the water with mountains in the background. Caption: An Accident Prevention Program is not just a requirement, it makes good business sense. Putting an APP into practice will create a safer workplace for all and help prevent costly workplace injuries and illnessesDo Accident Prevention Program rules apply to boats operating on state waters?

Yes,  the same Accident Prevention Program (APP)  rules that apply to workplaces on land also apply when boats with non-federal employees operate on lakes, some rivers, and other Washington State-regulated waters.  

APP and other workplace safety and health rules also apply to publicly operated work vessels, such as state-run ferries, even when they operate on federal waters.

On land or water, the employer is responsible for ensuring workplace safety and health rules are followed.On the water, the captain is the employer's representative.

Boats utilized as charter boats must also meet licensing, inspection, and documentation requirements established to ensure public safety. See L&I's "Charter Boats" Web page to learn more about these requirements.

For help clarifying which regulations apply to you, contact L&I at the numbers below, or contact the U.S. Coast Guard (

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More help from L&I

For general information, call 1-800-423-7233.

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