Life vests, check; permits, check…
An angler’s boat needs even more attention than his tackle box in preparation for opening day.
Boats that don’t meet basic requirements are subject to a fine, which would taint even a good day of fishing.
Boating safety rules vary from Spokane County to Idaho. For example, kids under 12 must wear life jackets on boats in Washington, while Idaho enforces the requirement on kids under 14.
Although specifics must be checked out for each county, here are guidelines for being legal in both states:
• Most powerboats with motors 10-horsepower or larger must be registered.
• A life jacket must be easily available for each person aboard a boat.
• All children 14 and under must wear an approved life jacket when in a boat that’s underway.
• Throwable flotation aids are required on boats 16 feet and longer and recommended on all boats.
• Gas-powered boats must have approved fire extinguishers and meet specifications for mufflers and ventilation.
• Whistles or horns are required.
• Lights are required for traveling at night.
Spokane County has several specific rules, including a requirement that all persons must wear a personal flotation device while on moving water.
Washington law says residents 50 years old or younger must carry a Washington State Boater Education Card while operating a powerboat in state waters.
Idaho’s invasive species sticker requirement extends to most vessels, including non-motorized boats and inflatables longer than 10 feet.
The sticker comes with Idaho boat registrations, but a separate sticker must be purchased if your boat is registered out of state or if you have an unregistered non-motorized craft. Cost: $22 for power boats, $7 for nonmotorized.
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