2017 Washington State boating update

2017 Update from the Washington State Parks Boating Program

 

 

 

Update from the State Parks Boating Program

Greetings, Boaters!

 

The 2017 Legislature enacted legislation that affects recreational boaters.  And U.S. Coast Guard regulations regarding Hull Identification Numbers have been a source of angst among many boaters.  We wanted to give you an update on these hot topics

 

2017 Legislative Changes

 Vessel Impound Authority  :  

The Legislature passed House Bill; 1605,  giving marine law enforcement officers the authority to impound a vessel if they arrest the operator for boating under the influence and cannot find another qualified operator to take control of the vessel. This law created due process and protections for boaters as well as officers. The law went into effect on July 23, 2017. The Department of Licensing is currently working on developing the Vessel Impound Authorization and Vessel Foreclosure forms.

 

marine patrol

 

Some key provisions in the new law (RCW 79A.60.045) include:

 

 Visual Distress Signals Exempted From the Definition of a Firearm  :   

 

The Legislature passed Senate Bill 5552, amending Washington’s firearm law.  Flare guns or other pyrotechnic visual distress signaling devices are now excluded from the definition of firearm. (RCW 9.41.010)   

I

 

Flare gun

 

 

Vessel Hull Identification Numbers  (HIN)  Display Instructions  :

 

Vessel registration and/or titled in Washington State must have a hull identification number (HIN) assigned and permanently affixed to them.   Federal regulations have required vessel manufacturers to assign numbers to all vessels manufactured since 1972.  The six-digit official number (document number) assigned by the Coast Guard is NOT a HIN.

If your vessel may not have had a identifiable number, or the number may have become lost, the DOL computer system may have assigned one.  The assigned HIN is located on the "Vessel Certificate of Ownership Application/Registration Certificate,"  given to you by the licensing agent, or county auditor, on line two, at the far right. 

 

Using a permanent method, engrave or affix the assigned HIN above the waterline, either:

* to the outboard side of the vessel's transom.

* or, if there is no transom, to the outermost starboard side of the hull that bears the rudder or other steering mechanism.

 

We will issue a Certificate of Ownership that will reflect this HIN and mail it to the legal owner shown on our records.    We will not issue a Certificate of Ownership if the vessel is documented with the United States Coast Guard; the Certificate Documentation is the proof of ownership in these cases.

For more information, wisit www.dol.wa.gov , or contact Customer service at : telephone 360-902-3770 or e-mail :  titles@dol.wa.gov

 

 

Vessel Numbering Instructions :  

 

Vessel Registration and Display ;

Vessel owners must display registration numbers and decals on the vessel's bow as shown below.

Vessel registration must be visible from the outside of the vessel.  you may paint or permanently attach the number directly to the vessel or use a backing plate if you have a rubber boat or your boat is not built so the numbers could be otherwise visible.

Registration numbers remain with the vessel permanently.

 

Documented Vessels ;

Federal regulations prohibit the display of the state (WN) registration number on documented vessels.   State registration decals are required and must be displayed on the forward half of the vessel so they are easily visible for law enforcement.

 

Tenders ;

A vessel's tender (dingy, small boat, or inflatable) is used EXCLUSIVLEY for transportation from the documented or registered parent vessel to and from shore.  The tender is a separate vessel and must be properly numbered and registered, except when both apply as seen below:

 

*  If the motor is less than 10 horsepower

*  If the tender is properly identified with the parent vessel's registration numbers followed by the number "1" displayed on both sides of the bow.  (Example: WN 1234 ZZ 1 or WN-1234-ZZ-1)

 

The number shown below are examples, and not your vessel number

 

 

 

 

Verification of Hull Identification Numbers (HIN)  :  

In 2012, the U.S. Coast Guard passed a regulation requiring all agencies registering or titling vessels to verify that Hull Identification Numbers (HIN) conform to federal regulations during the re-registration process.  The Washington Department of Licensing (DOL), and their agents, are responsible for implementing this regulation.  We (DOL) are providing a few facts and tips to help inform boaters about the issue.


In 1972, the U.S. Coast Guard began requiring all vessel manufacturers to permanently affix the HIN on all vessels.  The purpose was to give the Coast Guard an easier way to recall unsafe vessels.  It also helps law enforcement track stolen vessels.  There are three approved formats of the HIN.  A vessel’s HIN format must conform to the standard that was in effect the year the vessel was manufactured.  DOL is responsible for verifying this when a boat is registered.  Boaters are responsible for verifying the HIN on their boat matches the HIN on the vessel registration documents.   If it does not, we recommend taking a picture of the HIN and bringing it to a registration office.   Earlier this year (2017), the DOL sent letters to 19,000 vessel owners they identified as potentially having non-conforming HINs.   If you received this letter, you may need a new HIN issued. 

The State Parks Boating Program has no oversight of the HIN regulation or process.  Please work directly with DOL.  If you have questions, contact the DOL customer help line at 360-902-3900.   TTY users, please call 360-664-0116.   For more information about the State Parks Boating Program, including safety tips, how to get your Boater Education Card, find a pump out location and more, visit www.goboatingwa.com.  

 Note From the Author  :     For those of you who may purchase older used boats you may want to be aware that over the life of the boat, and subsequent title transfers or more probably lost titles, that IF the owner was not aware of the location of the required HIN, could not identify it in totality, OR it may have been painted over and near invisible, that a number may have been assigned by DOL.  This number will not look at all like a original boat HIN, but would have taken out of the same book as if was a home made utility trailer and registered accordingly, starting with a letter WN.  Your boat could very likely still have the original HIN, (but possibly somewhat hidden). 

After 1972 all numbers would have had 12 digits, earlier ones many not have had that many.  Initially these hull serial numbers would have identified the manufacturer, and had a date code of sorts (sometimes only known to the manufacturer).  Some used the last 2 numbers of the year and then a month, and even possibly the number of the boat that was made that month.  There would have been a code for Wood, Glass or Aluminum.

Under the new enforcement procedure IF you are trying to resurrect and use the original number, after proving your hull number is the original, (photo or FULL & COMPLETE pencil rubbing), you will relinquish your title  while they process your new information.   And your new title may not say the manufacturer that it did previously.  I was told that since there were many manufacturers whos names could be similar, that DOL has now assigned a letter code.   The 1980 one I just went through this on was made by Columbia Fiberglass and was an Olympian model.   All my new title says for maker is RJS, which has nothing even close.  In my questioning of it, I was told, don't look at DOL, they were only complying with the US Coast Guards requirements.  And if stopped and questioned, that any law enforcement would have computer access to the new codes ?????  Is this code available to boat dealers/public? What if I go fishing in Canada and don't want a hassle when bringing it back across the border???

 

Back to Ramblings
 

Originated 8-30-2017, Last updated 08-30-2017

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In 2012, the U.S. Coast Guard passed a regulation requiring all agencies registering or titling vessels to verify that Hull Identification Numbers (HIN) conform to federal regulations during the re-registration process. The Department of Licensing (DOL), and their agents, is responsible for implementing this regulation. We are providing a few facts and tips to help inform boaters about the issue.


For more information about the State Parks Boating Program, including safety tips, how to get your Boater Education Card, find a pump out location and more, visit www.goboatingwa.com.