Outdoors

Walter is boating safety program’s newest vessel

Walter is the newest member of the state’s boating safety team.

The newly acquired, bright yellow 23-foot boat will be used to teach boating and water safety to youth and adults, promote Washington State Marine Parks and train marine law enforcement officers.

The aluminum boat was named Walter, which stands for Washington’s All-equipped Law Enforcement Training and Education Resource boat.

“Walter will play a key role in the state’s new public education and outreach strategy to increase boating safety and awareness,” Wade Alonzo, Boating Program manager, said in a news release.

The boat’s bright color is intended to make it highly visible on the state’s lakes, rivers and marine waters.

During boating events, the Boating Program’s staff will use a friendly approach to promote safe boating practices, such as the importance of using lifejackets, Alonzo said.

“Our goal is to be a friendly face to boaters,” he said in the release. “We are working with partners from recreational boating businesses to reward safe boating behavior. For example, if we’re out on the water and we see boaters wearing their lifejackets, we might just have a nice prize for them.”

The vessel was launched Monday at Swantown Marina in Olympia, where it will be stationed when it’s not in use.

The boat’s first public appearance is scheduled at the Puget Sound Boat Show March 12-15 at the Tacoma Dome. Later this month, the boat will be in the Tri-Cities area during marine law enforcement training.

Walter also will be seen at other major boating events all over the state, including opening-day-of-boating celebrations, boat shows, fishing derbies, SeaFair and sportsmen’s shows.

Washington State Parks & Recreation Commission administers the state’s Recreational Boating Safety program. It is funded by the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund. The goal of the program is to reduce accidents and fatalities, increase stewardship of state waterways and keep recreational boating a safe, accessible and enjoyable pastime, according to the release.

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