60 Years of Service to the Boaters of Washington

We Work for Boaters!

As a unified group, we've been able to convey our positions to the State legislature and to regulators much more effectively than any individual or single group could hope to do.

RBAW's mission is to represent the interests of Northwest boaters effectively. To help fulfill that goal we have a professional lobbyist in Olympia, who makes sure our collective voice is heard by state lawmakers. Our main focus is State boating issues.


helps to hold the line on taxes. So far, we have kept the state from quadrupling the registration excise tax from the current 1/2 of 1 % to 2% or more.

• keeps fighting to get boaters their fair share for the taxes they pay. We work to make boat taxes go toward boating programs, not the state general fund.

• is a member of the National Clean Boating Campaign. We subscribe to the slogan "BOATING IS GOOD CLEAN FUN, LET'S KEEP IT THAT WAY". We support sensible environmental programs and laws.

• comes to your defense against unnecessary restrictions, such as a recently proposed "No Discharge Zone" for all of Puget Sound, outlawing on-board treatment plant discharges, despite no scientifically-justified need for such ban.

• supports state funding for boating safety projects, educates boaters on safety and environmental issues, and promotes the proper and safe use of marine equipment and marine radios.

• works with our Canadian neighbors. We meet with the B.C. Council of Yacht Clubs and exchange ideas that help boaters from both countries know and understand each other's problems with customs, fisheries, boating laws, safety and education, environmental regs, and Coast Guard operations.

• is a principle member of the National Boating Federation (NBF) that supports pro boating legislation at the national level. Our voice is also heard in Washington, D.C. on federal boating issues.

• keeps boaters informed. A periodic newsletter is sent to each member and is posted on this website to keep you up on pertinent issues.

• was there to help the state to "Get it Right" when they passed the new PFD laws.

• saves boaters money by reducing government intrusion and regulations. Yet the dues for RBAW are far less than the money you save each year.

RBAW actively represents the nearly 240,000 registered recreational boaters in the State of Washington through both individual memberships (now about 1300) and the membership of over 50 supporting boating clubs in the State (now about 8000 club members) and is the only organization representing recreational boaters in the State. RBAW is run by boaters just like you. Our officers, board and committees are all staffed by boating volunteers, nominated and elected by members.

For those members and clubs who have stuck with us these past 60+ years, WE THANK YOU. We're looking forward to the next half-century and your support!

The History of RBAW

Officially registered with the Washington Secretary of State as a Corporation in 1956, the Recreational Boating Association of Washington is entering its seventh decade of service to the boaters of Washington. Read or download the RBAW Bylaws (Revised October 2016).

RBAW's parent organization was formed prior to 1956 as the "Puget Sound Interclub Association" and continued with that name through incorporation in 1956. The organization name was later changed to the "Interclub Boating Association of Washington", and eventually adopted the current name, "Recreational Boating Association of Washington" in 1992.

In the mid 1950's, one of the first goals of the organization was to purchase land on Sucia Island and donate it to the State for a Marine Park in an effort to stop plans for development of the area for vacation cabins. The organization raised $25,000 which was reported to be half the value of the island in 1955!

The boaters of Washington can be eternally grateful that our inspired and hard working predecessors succeeded in this goal. Sucia Island exists as one of the crown jewels of Washington State Marine Parks. RBAW was also involved in raising funds for the Princess Louisa Society; its success is because of these early efforts.

The founding officers of RBAW were: (Our First President) Everett "Ev" Henry (Rainier Yacht Club), Harold Fowler (Meydenbauer Bay Yacht Club), Robert Walters (Puget Sound Outboard & Cruising Club), Stan Stevenson (Rainier), Richard McCann (Queen City Yacht Club), Mid Chism (Seattle Yacht Club), Lyle Iverson, Frank Kalberg, Frank Morris, Dan Martin, and Robert W. Graham. The founding clubs of the Puget Sound Interclub Association (RBAW) are as follows:

Anacortes Yacht Club

Meydenbauer Bay Yacht Club

Rainier Yacht Club

Bellingham Yacht Club

Olympia Yacht Club

Sand Point Yacht Club

Bellingham Wheel and Keel

Olympia Outboard Association

Sea Scouts

Bellingham Boat Owners

Port Angeles Yacht Club

Seattle Power Squadron

Bremerton Yacht Club

Port Townsend Yacht Club

Seattle Yacht Club

Corinthian Yacht Club

Puget Sound Outboard Cruising Club

Tacoma Yacht Club

Day Island Yacht Club

Quartermaster Yacht Club

Totem Yacht Club

Everett Yacht Club

Queen City Yacht Club

Tyee Yacht Club

A commemorative sign with all these supporting clubs, plus others that joined the effort later, is posted at the head of the dock in Fossil Bay on Sucia Island. There's also a plaque on the point at the S.E. entrance to Fossil Bay and that point is named "Point Ev Henry" for RBAW's First President.

We can be proud that most of the above listed clubs still are members of RBAW and still participate in our many activities that benefit boating. At present we have approximately 50 clubs on our membership roster.