About the Study Guide

You are looking at a preview of what’s in the timed Washington Boat Ed Course. Feel free to look around, but you’ll need to register to begin progress toward getting your Washington Boater Education Card.

Learn More Register for the Course

Sound Signal Devices

In periods of reduced visibility or whenever a vessel operator needs to signal his or her intentions or position, a sound-producing device is essential. The navigation rules for meeting head-on, crossing, and overtaking situations are examples of when sound signals are required.

  • A sound-producing device is required on all waters and must be audible for one-half mile.
    • Vessels less than 65.6 feet in length (including PWCs, sailboats, and manually powered vessels) are required to carry on board a mouth-, hand-, or power-operated whistle or horn, or some other means to make an efficient sound signal.
    • Vessels 65.6 feet or more in length are required to carry on board a whistle or horn, and a bell.
  • No vessel may be equipped with a siren except vessels used by law enforcement officers.