WA State Licensing: Whitewater river outfitter

Whitewater river outfitter

A Whitewater River Outfitter Endorsement is required for businesses carrying, or advertising to carry, for-hire passengers on whitewater sections of Washington rivers.


To get a license you must:

  1. Provide proof of liability insurance of your whitewater river outfitter business, which must include:
    • A policy number.
    • Coverage for all river guides and employees used by your business.
    • Policy effective and expiration dates that show current coverage.
    • The name of the insurance company.
    • Minimum coverage of $300,000 per claim per occurrence.
    • The certificate holder as State of Washington, Business Licensing Service, PO Box 9034, Olympia, WA 98507.
  2. Ensure that each vessel on a whitewater river trip is operated by a guide who meets the requirements set in RCW 79A.60.430(2), which requires guides to:
    • Be at least 18 years of age.
    • Have successfully completed a lifesaving training course that meets the standards set by the State Parks and Recreation Commission.
    • Have completed a guide training program on whitewater rivers conducted by a qualified guide instructor.
    • Have completed at least one trip on the entire section of a whitewater river before carrying passengers for hire in a vessel on that section of river.

Additional requirements

  • The training program for whitewater river guides must be conducted by a qualified guide instructor. The qualifications for an instructor are listed in RCW 79A.60.430(3). This person must have traveled at least 1,500 river miles, 750 of which must have been while acting as a guide.
  • RCW 79A.60.430(4) requires a person conducting guide training on whitewater rivers to issue proof of completion to any guide completing the training program if it is requested by the guide trainee.
  • You may also need to comply with federal Uninspected Passenger Vessel Licensing. For more information, contact the Coast Guard at 206-220-7210.
  • Commercial outfitters must have a federal permit for trips in federally regulated areas. You must have a state Whitewater River Outfitter License to receive a federal permit. For more information, contact the US Forest Service at 360-956-2400.

Post your license

A license must be posted at each location where the licensee operates. You may not begin this business activity until you receive a Business License listing the required license.

How to apply

Apply by using one of the following options:

  • File online with My DOR. My DOR works best with Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome.

    1. Login using your Secure Access Washington (SAW) user ID. If you don't have a user ID or aren't sure, see if you have an account first before signing up.
    2. Click Get Started on the Business Licensing and Tax service.
    3. Follow the steps below based on your business status.
  • If you do not have an existing business

      1. Click File New Business License Application. Be sure to select the endorsements for which you wish to apply.

    If you have an existing business

      1. If you haven't already, add access to your business. You'll need a UBI number and a letter ID.
      2. Click on the business you want to apply for a license/endorsement under, then click on the location.
      3. Click File New Business License Application.

    You can pay using an E-check or a major credit card (gift cards can't be used).

    Find more help for using My DOR, including video tutorials.

  • By mail
    1. Complete the following:
    2. Mail your completed forms with a check or money order payable to “Department of Revenue” for the fees to:

      State of Washington
      Business Licensing Service
      PO Box 9034
      Olympia, WA 98507-9034


Specialty endorsement Fee
Whitewater River Outfitter $25 per location
Other fees that may apply Fee
Registering your business name as trade name $5
Business License Application $19 (non-refundable)

Regulatory questions

Department of Licensing
Whitewater River Outfitters
Phone: (360) 664-1530
Fax: (360) 570-7053

See also: