Equipment Inspection

Required Equipment

Equipment required to be on your boat when operating on inland waters within the state of Washington:

Numbers Properly Displayed:

This is the registration number or "WN" number that act as a license plate for your boat, or Personal Watercraft. The numbers must:
  • Be permanently attached to each side of the bow (forward half) of the vessel.
  • Read from left to right.
  • Be of vertical, block characters that are at least 3 inches high.
  • Contain a space or hyphen separating the "WN" and the letter suffix from the numeral(Example: WN-1234-ME
Current Decal Properly Displayed: This is the decal you receive each year when you register your boat or watercraft.

Port Side (Left): Current registration decal placed within 6 inches of the last character of number.

Starboard Side (Right): Current registration decal placed within 6 inches of "W" character.

Certificate of Numbers: The vessel registration is required to be onboard the vessel whenever the vessel is on the water.

Personal Flotation Devise: 1 Personal Flotation Devise (PFD) (life jacket) for each person onboard the vessel is required. The PFD must be:
  • U.S. Coast Guard approved
  • In good serviceable condition
  • Readily accessible
  • Of the proper size for the person who will wear it
Vessels 16 Feet in Length or Longer, Except Canoes and Kayaks: These vessels must also have a 1 type IV throw able type PFD onboard the vessel at all times.

Fire Extinguishers: Motorboats less than 26 feet in length (with "closed" construction") must have 1 B1 fire extinguisher on board at all times. The fire extinguisher must also:
  • Be U.S. Coast Guard approved
  • Readily accessible
  • In good serviceable condition
  • Mounted securely in its bracket
Muffler: All motorized vessels are required to have some type of muffler system. This can be a mechanical baffle set-up or a system that works under water. The muffler has to be effective, in good working order and in constant use.

Lights Properly Displayed: Between sunset and sunrise, or in other times of restricted visibility, a vessel must display the proper navigation lights. No violation exists between sunrise and sunset during conditions of good visibility if the vessel has no lights or is not exhibiting them. Sails, gear, boat wakes, or passengers on board the vessel should not screen navigation lights.

Flame Arrestor: Every gasoline engine installed in a motorboat or motor vessel after April 25, 1940, except outboard motors, shall be equipped with an acceptable means of backfire flame control. This devise is used to "cool" backfire flames from the carburetor. The flame arrestor must be:
  • U.S. Coast Guard approved - flame arresters manufactured after 1992 do not need to state approval from the USCG if the manufacture has "self certified" the unit
  • Mounted firmly atop the carburetor
  • Have no separation of mesh, screen, or grid element
  • Clean and free of foreign matter
Sound Device Horn-Whistle-Bell: All vessels are required to carry on board a sound producing device that can make an efficient sound signal. Sound producing devices can be either hand, mouth, or power operated. They are capable of producing a blast of at least 2 seconds, and are audible for at least 1-half mile. The Yakima County Sheriff’s Office recommends at least 2 types of sound producing devices to be kept on board your vessel at all times.

Ventilation Engine/Fuel Tank: All motorboats or motor vessels, except "open boats," constructed after April 25, 1940 but prior to August 1980, and which use fuel having a flash point of 110 degrees or less, shall have at least 2 ventilator ducts fitted with cowls or their equivalent, for the efficient removal of explosive or flammable gasses from the bilge of every engine and fuel tank compartment. There shall be at least 1 exhaust duct installed that extends from the open atmosphere to the lower portion of the bilge or at least below the level of the carburetor air intake. The cowls shall be located and trimmed for maximum effectiveness to prevent displaced fumes from being recirculated.

Mechanical Blowers: Mechanical blower systems are required on vessels build after August 1, 1980. Mechanical blowers provide a positive means of exhausting vapors when there is little or no movement of air. They are very efficient for removing vapors before starting the engine. It suggested that ducting separate from the natural ventilation system be installed. Exhaust blowers should be of the sealed or arcless type and, if located within the compartment being ventilated, be located as close to the exhaust port as possible and are typically mounted under the gunwale.
  • Each vessel that is required to have an exhaust blower must have a label located as close as practical to each ignition switch , in plain view of the operator , and has at least the following information: "Warning- Gasoline Vapors Can Explode. Before Starting Engine Operate Blower For 4 Minutes and Check Engine Compartment Bilge For Gasoline Vapors."
Ski Flag: All vessels in the operation of water skiing, must have a ski flag on board at all times. The ski flag must be at minimum 12 inches by 12 inches and be on a stick measuring a minimum 24 inches. The flag must be bright orange or bright red. The ski flag must be raised in the air any time a skier is in the water but not up actively skiing, wake boarding, knee boarding, or any other activity in which the person is being pull by a vessel.