Boat prepared

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

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 equipment to be rescue ready and keep everyone safe.

Plan accordingly and enjoy a lifetime of boating adventures!

  1. Required equipment
  2. Additional equipment
  3. Planning Tips

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

  • Life jackets - U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets, of the right size and type, for everyone on board
  • A sounding device - horn, whistle or bell
  • A white navigation light -during low visibility such as fog, heavy rain, dawn or dusk
  • Nighttime visual distress signal—such as flares (required on federal waterways only)

Depending on boat length and engine type, state law requires the following:

For a specific list of requirements by boat length and type, review the Washington State required equipment checklist (PDF).

Remember, these items are basic and won't maximize your chance of survival in an accident. There's additional gear necessary to be rescue ready.