Make sure your tattoo artist has a license to ink

May 31, 2013
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OLYMPIA — Before getting the tattoo you’ve always dreamed about, the Department of Licensing recommends you choose a tattoo artist and shop carefully so you don’t leave with more than just a work of body art.

“Getting a tattoo can be a great experience if the tattoo artist is properly licensed and following all of the safety and sanitation rules,” said Teresa Berntsen, Deputy Director of the Department of Licensing.

State law requires all tattoo shops and artists to be licensed.  Tattoo shops must follow very strict safety and sanitation rules to protect customers from the spread of disease and infection, and are subject to inspection every two years, or upon receipt of a consumer complaint. Tattoo artists must be at least 18 years old, and have a current blood borne pathogens certificate.

It’s important to remember tattooing presents a potential for infections and allergic reactions. Berntsen recommends customers take a few common sense precautions:

  • Look at shop owner and tattoo artist licenses to make sure they are current.
  • Check the shop for overall cleanliness.  Make sure that work surfaces, equipment, and towels are clean.
  • Feel free to question the shop owner and tattoo artist about their sanitation and safety procedures.
  • Make sure that items such as needles, stencils, pigments, dyes, razors and products used to control blood flow are only used once and disposed of properly. Some equipment may be re-used if the parlor follows proper sanitizing and sterilizing procedures.
  • Make sure the artist properly covers equipment that might come in contact with the customer, including tattoo machines and electrical cords.
  • Be sure the artist washes their hands and wears gloves throughout the tattoo application.
  • Do not get a tattoo in someone’s kitchen or living room. The shop should have an outside entrance separate from any rooms used for sleeping or residential purposes.
  • Do your homework when choosing your artist.  Every artist has their own style so be sure to choose the artist who will give you the tattoo you want.

If you have concerns about whether or not a tattoo shop or artist is licensed, go to the department’s website at http://www.dol.wa.gov/business/checkstatus.html.  Consumers can file a complaint by calling (360) 664-6660.

The Department of Licensing has produced a new video titled, Tattoo Safety. It appears below.




It’s time to renew: 2013 boat decals expire June 30

May 23, 2013
Everett Marina with Mt. Baker

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OLYMPIA—Boating season is here, and the deadline for renewing boat and watercraft registration decals is right around the corner. All Washington state boat registrations expire on June 30.

Don’t let an expired registration spoil your day; remember to renew before you get out on the water.

 Boat registrations can be renewed online at the DOL website or in person at a neighborhood vehicle licensing office. Those who choose to renew at an office should make sure to note the registration number on the bow of the boat or watercraft and take that information to the office. 

 Due to budget cuts, DOL discontinued paper renewal notices for boats in 2010 and instead offered boat owners the opportunity to sign up to receive email renewal reminders. It’s too late to sign up for an email renewal reminder for this year, but boat owners can sign up online at dol.wa.gov to receive renewal reminders by email in the future.

Skip a Trip — Go Online. The Department of Licensing has a wide variety of consumer services available online. Please visit our website at dol.wa.gov.