Washington State Parks & Recreation Commission Washington State
Boating Basics Exam

A test of your basic boating knowledge

Boating Basics
This exam is designed to test your understanding of boating and safety laws.  It has been approved by the National State Boating Law Administrators and is recognized by the United States Coast Guard.  It consists of 50 multiple choice questions.  Read each question carefully.  Select the answer of the phrase which best completes the statement and type the letter (in CAPITAL LETTERS) in the box provided.  Each question has only one correct answer.  Good Luck!

1. Most boating fatalities are the result of:

A. collisions with other boats or objects.
B. heart attacks from excitement.
C. capsizings or falls overboard.
D. lightning striking the victims.

2. You should always watch for changes in the weather while boating.  Most changes come from the:

A. West.
B. East.
C. South.
D. North.

3. Regulatory Buoys in the Uniform State Waterway Marking System are recognized by:

A. their solid orange color.
B. their sizes.
C. the horizontal orange bands at the top and bottom.
D. the red and green lights on top.

4. Being a courteous boater includes:

A. not throwing litter into the water.
B. keeping noise to a minimum at night.
C. watching your wake so as to not cause damage to other vessels or to shorelines.
D. all three of the above.

5. When boating near large vessels, you should:

A. avoid jumping wakes, riding close alongside, or cutting under the bow.
B. always underestimate the speed of a large vessel.
C. stay in the deep channels, and never move to the right of the channel.
D. ignore any whistle signals, because they are not meant for you.

6. The necessary length of a boat trailer is determined by:

A. the length of the car towing it.
B. the length of the boat.
C. the beam (width) of the boat.
D. state law.

7. When boarding a small boat from a dock or low pier:

A. step onto the bow of the boat.
B. step into the center of the boat.
C. step onto a side of the boat.
D. jump into the boat.

8. A boat is less stable and more likely to capsize when:

A. overloaded or overpowered.
B. its load is kept low and evenly distributed.
C. empty.
D. in deep water.

9. Planning hulls:

A. are designed to skim on top of the water.
B. require very little power to plow through the water.
C. are often found on very large trawler yachts.
D. cannot go very fast.

10. An example of negligent or reckless operation would be:

A. excessive speed in a congested area.
B. operating under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
C. operating in a swimming area with bathers present.
D. all three of the above.

11. If a boat capsizes:

A. grab a PFD and swim to the nearest shore.
B. grab a PFD, swim to the boat, and stay with the boat.
C. grab a PFD and yell until help arrives.
D. swim away from the boat as quickly as possible.

12. If you see something off the port beam, you are seeing something:

A. straight out from the middle of the vessel on the left side.
B. straight ahead of the vessel.
C. straight out from the middle of the vessel on the right side.
D. directly behind the vessel.

13. You should always have the following equipment on your vessel:

A. a Coast Guard approved PFD for each person on board.
B. paddles or oars.
C. tool kit and spare parts.
D. all of the above.

14. When you are trying to bring someone into your boat from the water, you should bring them in:

A. over the bow.
B. over the side.
C. with a fishing pole.
D. over the stern.

15. Under the Lateral Buoyage System, you can tell which side of the channel a buoy is on by its:

A. color.
B. shape (unlighted buoys).
C. number.
D. all the above.

16. The following vessels always have the right-of-way:

A. sailboats.
B. sailboats using motors.
C. motorboats over 26 feet in length.
D. large ships in narrow channels.

17. One approved Type I, II or III wearable PFD for each person on board plus one Type IV throwable device is required:

A. only for boats less than 16 feet in length.
B. only for boats 16 feet or over in length.
C. only for canoes and kayaks.
D. only for sailboats.

18. To avoid a collision:

A. keep a sharp lookout for others.
B. know and follow the rules of the road.
C. be courteous.
D. all three of the above.

19. In poor visibility, motorboat operators must sound on the horn every two minutes:

A. one prolonged blast plus two short blasts.
B. two prolonged blasts.
C. one prolonged blast.
D. one prolonged blast plus three short blasts.

20. Fire extinguishers are classified, according to the type and size fire they can put out, by:

A. color of the containers.
B. size of the containers.
C. letters and numbers.
D. all of the above.

21. Before you buy a PFD, you should make sure that:

A. it will fit everyone who uses your boat.
B. its color contrasts with the color of your boat so it will be seen.
C. it is Coast Guard approved.
D. you don't have to make sure of anything; all PFDS are the same.

22. The skipper of a boat is responsible for:

A. the safety of all guests.
B. the boat.
C. any damage the boat's wake may cause.
D. all three of the above.

23. There are four classifications of motorboats, broken down according to:

A. weight.
B. horsepower.
C. length.
D. capacity.

24. The conditions in which the human body loses heat faster than it can be produced is called:

A. shock.
B. suffocation.
C. hypothermia.
D. dry rot.

25. A vessel being overtaken must:

A. maintain course and slow down.
B. move to port.
C. hold course and speed.
D. move to starboard.

26. When you are in a lock system you should:

A. shut off the motor.
B. hang boat fenders on both sides of the boat.
C. follow the lock attendant's instructions.
D. all of the above.

27. Water skiers should always be able to control the actions of the boat through:

A. yelling.
B. foot signals.
C. hand signals.
D. large signs.

28. A sailboat usually has the right of way over a motorboat except:

A. when it yields to commercial vessels in narrow channels.
B. when the sailboat is the overtaking boat.
C. when it is under power.
D. all the above.

29. The operator of a boat involved in an accident must submit an accident report form if:

A. a person dies.
B. a person loses consciousness or receives medical treatment beyond first aid.
C. property damage is more than $500.
D. any of the above.

30. The capacity plate tells:

A. the boat's speed.
B. the weight of the vessel when empty.
C. maximum load and horsepower rating.
D. how many PFDS must be on board.

31. A buoy flying a red flag with a white diagonal stripe indicates:

A. first leg of a sailing race course.
B. divers down - steer clear by at least 200 feet.
C. ski slalom course - steer well clear.
D. hatchery fish area - proceed slowly.

32. Properly displayed boat numbers must be at least three inches high, in bold, block letters and:

A. be displayed on the rear half of one side of the bow of the boat.
B. read from left to right.
C. match the color of the boat.
D. read from right to left.

33. Low head dams are dangerous because:

A. there is a lot of water rushing over them and the fast current will carry the boat downstream.
B. water circulation at the base of the dam tends to trap a boat against the face of the dam and hold it there.
C. the bottom of the boat will be damaged when going over the dam.
D. all of the above.

34. Small utility boats and jon boats:

A. can be powered by small outboard motors.
B. can be used as car-toppers because of their light weight and size.
C. can be very tippy.
D. all three of the above.

35. Most boating accidents occur in small open boats on small inland bodies of water:

A. on weekends during the summer months.
B. during unexpected storms.
C. in the winter when the water is coldest.
D. on weekdays during the summer months.

36. The best method of anchoring is to:

A. slowly lower the anchor to the bottom by hand.
B. stand on the bow and throw the anchor underhand away from the side of the boat.
C. heave the anchor overboard by casting from the side of the boat.
D. tie up to a navigation aid.

37. If you are on shore and you are trying to assist someone who is in trouble in the water, you should remember the four basic steps in the following order:

A. reach, row, go, throw.
B. reach, throw, row, go.
C. reach, go, throw, row.
D. go, row, throw, reach.

38. If a person falls overboard, you should:

A. turn on your running lights to warn others.
B. toss a life saving device to the person.
C. immediately speed the boat up so the person will not float away too far.
D. report the accident immediately.

39. U.S. Coast Guard approved Personal Floatation Devices:

A. do not include ski belts.
B. should be worn by all children and non-swimmers.
C. should be checked periodically to be certain they are serviceable.
D. all three of the above.

40. Most motorboats are powered by:

A. stern drive (inboard/outboard) engines.
B. inboard engines.
C. outboard motors.
D. oars.

41. When going upstream or entering a channel from seaward:

A. the red buoys are on the port (left) side.
B. remember red, right, returning.
C. stay close to shore to avoid other craft.
D. keep the black or green buoys on the starboard (right) side.

42. You should leave a copy of your float plan with:

A. the Coast Guard.
B. the state police.
C. a close friend or relative.
D. the President.

43. A Hull Identification Number (HIN):

A. is used in the same way as a license plate in a car.
B. must be in bold, block letters of good proportion.
C. tells the maximum horsepower recommended for the boat.
D. is used in the same way as a serial number on a car.

44. Navigation lights on pleasure boats are restricted to colors that are:

A. red, green, and white only.
B. white only.
C. red and green only.
D. red, blue, green, and white only.

45. You are approaching an area of considerable boating activity. You hear five short blasts from an air horn. This indicates:

A. a dock fire is in progress.
B. the danger signal.
C. an oil spill has occurred.
D. a vessel has its engine in reverse.

46. Alcohol effects:

A. judgment.
B. balance and coordination.
C. vision.
D. all of the above.

47. The U.S. Coast Guard requires all boats to carry visual distress signals when they are operating:

A. on inland lakes.
B. in U.S. coastal waters.
C. on rivers that are less than two miles across.
D. on streams.

48. A certificate of number:

A. must be carried on board whenever the boat is operated.
B. determines the boat's classification.
C. tells the passenger capacity.
D. must be displayed on the forward half of each side of the bow.

49. The correct way to load a small boat is to:

A. carry equipment aboard yourself.
B. hand equipment to someone already on the boat.
C. throw equipment into the boat from the dock.
D. don't take any equipment at all.

50. If you are caught out in fowl weather, you should:

A. stay where you are and not attempt to move.
B. reduce speed and head for the nearest shore that you can safely approach.
C. head out to the middle of the body of water so there will be less chance of hitting something.
D. abandon the boat and try to swim to shore.


You have completed the exam.  Unchecked answers will be counted as "wrong". 

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