Personal flotation devices (life jackets) are required in every vessel for each person on board. The life jacket must be of appropriate size, in serviceable condition and readily available. Additionally, vessels 16 feet or longer must also carry a throw-able type IV flotation device. Every child 12 years of age or younger must wear a Coast Guard approved personal flotation device while on board any vessel, except while in a cabin. Vessels shall also have a fire extinguisher and a sound-producing device, such as a horn or whistle.
You are required to carry the vessel registration certificate on board at all times. In Washington State, vessel registrations expire every year on June 30. On the First of July, every boater should have the new validation sticker displayed on the vessel behind the hull numbers.
You may only operate your vessel above 5 m.p.h. during designated times on Lake Sawyer. Vessels may exceed the 5 m.p.h. speed limit between the hours of 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Monday through Friday and from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Sunday and Holidays. Speeds of 5 m.p.h. or less (no wake) are required when operating within the buoys. The maximum speed limit on Lake Sawyer is 36 m.p.h. providing you are outside the buoys and at least 100 feet from any other vessel.
The general direction of travel is counter-clockwise around the lake.
Certain areas of the lake have been designated as restricted or regulated areas. A visible system of buoys has been installed to identify these areas. Please observe and obey all restrictions and speed limits. It is illegal to move or remove any marker buoy placed by law enforcement. Additionally, it is unlawful to strike or damage a buoy in any way. Marker buoys are not for boat moorage or swimming activities.
It will be considered reckless to operate a vessel while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug. Boating under the influence (BUI) will be aggressively prosecuted. Negligent operation may include disregard of careful and prudent operation and speeds.
An observer is required when towing any person on water skis, inner tubes, kneeboards or other water toys. They shall continuously observe the person being towed and immediately display a flag whenever the person is in the water. The flag must be at least a 12-inch square mounted on a 24-inch pole or longer and be either bright red or brilliant orange in color. A life jacket is to be worn by the person being towed.
A life jacket is required for operating personal watercraft such as jet skis and wave runners. No one may operate a personal watercraft without attaching the lanyard to his or her person, clothing or personal flotation device. It is illegal to disable or remove an engine cutoff switch. You must be at least 16 years old to operate a personal watercraft on Lake Sawyer. It cannot be operated after legal sunset or before legal sunrise. It is illegal to operate a personal watercraft in a reckless manner and execute tight 360-degree turns commonly referred to as "spinning donuts". Additionally, you must carry a fire extinguisher and sound signaling device. A personal watercaft must be registered just like an ordinary vessel.
Marine Service officers will make courtesy inspections of vessels both on the water and at the launch facility. Our primary concern is for boating safety and education. If you are a Black Diamond resident and would like to schedule a vessel inspection at your residence, please call the Police Department at (253)631-1012. Upon successful completion, you will be provided with a safety inspection sticker which may save you time getting in the water at the boat launch.
The Washington State Mandatory Boating Safety Education Law went into effect on January 1, 2008. The new law requires boaters aged 12 years and older to pass a boating safety course or an equivalency exam and to obtain a Boater Education Card before operating a motorized vessel of 15 horsepower or greater. The card requirement is being phased in from 2008 to 2014.