Adventures in Boating Washington Handbook
The Official Boating Handbook of the Washington State Parks - Web Version
Table of Contents
Registering and Titling Your Vessel
You must have a Washington title, current registration certificate, and current registration decals to operate, or moor a vessel on Washington's waters.
- Vessels that are not propelled by a motor (canoes, kayaks, etc.) and sailboats under 16 feet in length without a motor
- Vessels that are less than 16 feet in length and have a motor of 10 horsepower or less and are used only on non-federal waters
- Properly registered vessels owned by residents of another state or country and using Washington waters for 60 days or less
Vessel Registration Certificate
Cut out the wallet-sized registration information as indicated in lower left hand corner of the Vessel Registration Certificate.
This registration information must be on board and available for inspection by an enforcement officer whenever the vessel is operated on the water.
Documented vessels must be registered in Washington and display current registration decals, but are not required to dispaly the registration number.
Registration Number and Decals
If your vessel requires registration, it is illegal to operate it or allow others to operate your vessel unless it is properly registered and numbered.
The registration number and registration decals must be displayed as follows.
- Number must be painted, applied as a decal, or otherwise affixed to the forward half of each side of the vessel, placed to be clearly visible.
- Number must read from left to right on both sides of the bow.
- Number must be in at least three-inch-high, bold, vertical, BLOCK characters.
- The color of the numbers must contrast sharply with the background.
- Letters must be separated from the numbers by a space or hyphen: WN 3717 ZW or WN-3717-ZW.
- No other numbers may be displayed on either side of the bow.
- Current decals only must be affixed on each side of the bow, toward the stern of the registration number and in line with the number.
Some vessels are equipped with a “tender” used to transport passengers and equipment to and from shore while the parent vessel is at anchor. There are different standards for numbering tenders. The following criteria apply:
- For state-registered vessels:
- Tender with propulsion machinery less than 10 horsepower, and used only to provide direct transportation from ship to shore and back, displays the parent vessel’s registration numbers followed by the number “1” affixed to both sides of the bow (for example, WN 3717 ZW1 or WN-3717-ZW-1).
- Tender with propulsion machinery over 10 horsepower is considered a separate vessel and must be registered and display its own unique identification, registration numbers, and validation decals.
- Any tender, regardless of horsepower rating, used for purposes other than direct transportation from ship to shore is considered a separate vessel and must be registered and display its own unique identification, registration numbers, and validation decals.
- For U.S. Coast Guard–documented vessels: There is no exemption from state titling and registration for any tender equipped with propulsion machinery, regardless of horsepower rating. These tenders must be individually titled and registered with state and display their own unique identification, registration numbers, and validation decals.
Where To Register
You can submit your registration application and fees to your county auditor or vehicle licensing subagent office. For locations of vehicle licensing offices, visit www.dol.wa.gov.
Contact the Washington Department of Licensing for any questions or concerns about registering your vessel by calling 360-902-3770. You also may e-mail questions to [email protected].
Fees to Register and Title Your Vessel
Registration of a Vessel
Registration (first time) $29.25 *
Registration (annual renewal) $20.25 *
Titling (one-time fee) $5.00
Transfer of Title (includes $1.00 decal transfer fee for valid registration) $10.00
Transfer of Title (expired registration) $9.00
Duplicate Title $5.25
Duplicate Registration (if expired) $5.00
Duplicate Registration (if current) $5.00
* Plus any other applicable fees, taxes, and excise tax based on vessel value