HIN for my pontoon boat.


Purveyor of fine hackle, wine & cigars!

I believe you only need to register if you use a motor on it. I'm not 100% sure, but I asked about my 11' kayak and was told I don't have to register it.

I can't speak for the pontoon but my 14' row boat falls under this exception:

(7) Vessels under sixteen feet in overall length which have no propulsion machinery of any type or which are not used on waters subject to the jurisdiction of the United States or on the high seas beyond the territorial seas for vessels owned in the United States and are powered by propulsion machinery of ten or less horsepower;

All of the exceptions are poasted here:
http://search.leg.wa.gov/wslrcw/RCW 88 TITLE/RCW 88 . 02 CHAPTER/RCW 88 . 02 .030.htm

For clarification call the DOL.
Thanks guys. I didn't mean to ask a stupid question, but like I said, I was looking through the regs, and on pg 3 where they're talking about PFD's, there's a pic of a pontoon boat with no motor with a HIN, and they're talking about the angler sitting above the water, vessel rowed or paddled, or propelled by kicking fins and I just got to thinking, "Whoa, I don't need a HIN do I?" It wouldn't have surprised me either, as this state has some of the most, shall we say interesting laws of any state I've lived or fished in.

Thanks for answering a dumb quesiton.


Kent Lufkin

Remember when you could remember everything?
If registration IS required for pontoons then a whole lot of us are illegal. I've never seen numbers on one.

I'd never seen one with numbers either, and the states I've fished and floated or boated in have all had regs whereas a boat under 16' and not under power did not require numbers. But I'm planning on using the heck out of my boat this year, and didn't want to get busted.



Active Member
Jerry Daschofsky said:
Yup, no need for the #'s unless it's got a motor. So no worries.
But what about a boat, normally propelled by human power (i.e. pontoon boat or canoe), fitted with a temporary electric motor--say one borrowed from a friend for the duration of a single trip? Will this vessel have to be licensed prior to and henceforth after the trip? :confused:

Jerry Daschofsky

Staff member
Yup Ceviche, it will. I was stopped by a friendly law enforcement officer years ago when I had my little electric on my then newer outcast. I was out in the salt. But was told that I had to license the boat since it had a motor (doesn't say gas, just says motor in the lawbook). Went to the DOL and they confirmed. You can try and chance it. But not sure how nice the officer will be who stops you (if they do at all).


Just Another Bubba
Depends on the waters apparently.

* No, if 10 horsepower or less when used only on non federally regulated waters.

Federal waters, where registration is required on all mechanically propelled vessels regardless of size (gas, diesel, electric), include Puget Sound, Hood Canal, Lake Washington, Lake Union, Lake Sammamish, Columbia River, Snake River, Lake Washington Ship Canal, Capitol Lake, Pend Oreille River, Walla Walla River, Yakima River, and other bodies of water effected by the ebb and flow of the tide and are on or bordering federal land. For further clarification of federal waters, please contact the local marine law enforcement office in the jurisdiction.)* Exception: Vessels equipped with propulsion machinery of less than ten horsepower that: *(a) Are owned by the owner of a vessel for which a valid vessel number has been issued;* (b) Display the number of that numbered vessel followed by the suffix "1" in the manner prescribed by the department; and (c) Are used as a tender for direct transportation between that vessel and the shore and for no other purpose are not required to be registered.

there's still a place for civil disobedience, especially in this state where the regulators have gone wild. if you are willing to risk the amount of a ticket then obey the laws that make some sense and ignore the others. to be truthful most of our laws rely on voluntary compliance, since there is little capacity for actually enforcement. it is unfortunate that lawmakers (those idiots in olympia are only the tip of the iceberg) actually make rules as though they can enforce them. i always buy a license but have only had mine checked once in washington in 15 years and never in BC and once in alaska in 25 years. i could have put one kid through college!

Jerry Daschofsky

Staff member
Well Paul, it pretty much sums up most rivers and most lakes too (around Puget Sound that is and the Ocean). Federally regulated is most rivers in fact (including the Chehalis and it's tribs and many others up and down the coast). You have to go more into the RCW's. There are TONS of sub laws on this. The 10hp is for non regulated, but on anything that is supposed to be enforced by the Coast Guard, it's any motor and it requires a hull number. You'll be hard pressed to find many "non regulated" waters that people will be fishing.

Tony, on this law, there are PLENTY of people to enforce it actually. Depending on where you're running, you have all levels of law enforcement. Not just the WDFW. In fact, I've been checked several times running my big cats on the Chehalis in tidal flow areas and they checked me over very thoroughly (the local sheriff in their boat). Luckily I was in compliance. I've been checked probably 10 times in the last 6 years on the Chehalis (in inflatable and jetboats). All were Coast Guard or Local Law enforcement, none were WDFW.
well i see a lot of pontoons with electrics and no #. i'm a rower and don't mind it all day, but if i want to use an electric it seems ridiclious for the authorities to care, they got better things to do. most of us are lawbreakers anyway, hardly anyone drives for more than a few miles without exceeding the speed limit at some point. maybe they are just out to get you Jerry. ;)