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Course Outline

Washington law designates the following dangerous operating practices as illegal.

Overloading or Overpowering a Vessel is putting too much equipment on a vessel or equipping it with an engine that is too large and powerful, either of which can cause the vessel to capsize or swamp and put people into cold water.

  • Remember that it is unsafe and a violation to:
    • Load your vessel with passengers or cargo beyond its safe carrying ability or to carry passengers in an unsafe manner, taking into consideration the weather and other existing conditions at the time of operation, such as traffic or tides. Use your capacity plate to guide you.
    • Operate a vessel equipped with a motor that is overpowered beyond the vessel’s ability to be operated safely. Safe operation includes factors such as the type and construction of the vessel, your boating activity, and other conditions like the weather.
  • If it appears to an enforcement officer that the vessel is clearly overloaded or overpowered beyond safe operation and is in a hazardous condition, the officer may direct the operator to return to shore and correct the condition before continuing the voyage.

Teak Surfing (or Platform Dragging) is holding onto any portion of the exterior of the transom of a vessel (including the swim platform, swim deck, swim step, or swim ladder) for any amount of time while a power-driven vessel is underway or the engine is idling. Bodysurfing is swimming or floating on or in the wake directly behind a power-driven vessel that is underway or idling.

  • The Jenda Jones and Denise Colbert Safe Boating Act prohibits the operation of a motorboat while an individual is teak surfing, platform dragging, or bodysurfing.
  • The law does not apply to persons who are briefly on a swim platform, swim deck, swim step, or swim ladder while exiting or entering a vessel.
  • This law has been passed to aid in the prevention of carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • All new and used power-driven vessels that are sold within Washington (other than PWC) must display an approved carbon monoxide warning sticker on the interior of the vessel.
Washington Carbon Monoxide Warning Decal
Washington state law requires the owner or dealer to apply this carbon monoxide warning sticker on the interior of the vessel where it will be visible to passengers. Stickers are available from vehicle/boat licensing offices.
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