The Friday afternoon collision occurred about a mile off Seattle.
Detective Renee Witt said the yacht crew rescued both men from the water. Suquamish Tribal Police were fueling their boat nearby and also arrived quickly.
Witt said a 76-year-old man from the smaller boat died. He was not immediately identified.
KOMO-TV said the second man was also in his 70s. He was alert and was taken to Harborview Medical Center.
Witt said a drug recognition expert checked the adult male operator of the larger boat but found no impairment. The police investigation continues.
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