Boat Prepared

Washington state's diverse waterways of rivers, lakes, bays, inlets and coastal areas require different skills, preparation and safety equipment.

How do you get ready for an adventure out on the water? Are you prepping your boat? Will you check your gear? Do you know the rules of the road? 

Safety Equip

Prep. Check. Know.

  • Prep your boat. Always look for damages before you go. Do regular and annual maintenance. 
  • Check your gear. Make sure you have your essential equipment with you. Test it often so you know it's in good working condition.
  • Know the rules. Skippers are responsible for the safety of their boat and passengers. You can be prosecuted so learn how to boat safely.
You're required by law to carry specific safety equipment. Requirements vary according to size and type of boat. The legal requirements are minimal and do not maximize your chances of being rescued in a timely manner when an accident happens. You'll need additional essential equipment to be rescue ready and keep everyone safe.  
  1. Required Equipment
  2. Essential Equipment
  3. Safety Alerts

Federal and Washington state law requires the following on every boat, no matter what size, including kayaks, canoes and stand-up paddleboards.

  • U.S. Coast Guard approved life jacketsof the right size and type, for everyone on board
  • A sounding device—horn, whistle or bell
  • A white navigation light
  • On coastal waterways, nighttime visual distress signal such as flares
Washington state requires the following, depending on boat length and engine type.

For a specific list of requirements by boat length and type, review the Washington State Required Equipment Checklist

Remember, these items are basic. There's additional gear necessary. Being rescue ready is having the right gear at the right time. It means you can save yourself or someone else when an accident happens. Being rescue ready saves lives.
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