Operation of Personal Watercraft

Personal watercraft (PWC) is defined as a type of motorboat which is specifically designed to be operated by a person or persons sitting, standing, or kneeling ON the vessel rather than INSIDE the vessel. The term PWC includes jet skis, wet bikes, etc.

Educational Requirements for Operating a Personal Watercraft

See Mandatory Boater Education requirements for information on PWC education requirements.

Required Safety Equipment for Personal Watercraft

Any person being towed by a PWC is considered an occupant of the PWC and is required to wear a life jacket. Complete information about required safety equipment for PWC is available.

Operational Rules for Personal Watercraft

All operational rules for regular motorboats also apply to PWC. In addition to those requirements, it is unlawful for any person to:

  • Operate PWC at night (sunset until sunrise).
  • Operate PWC within 50 feet of another PWC, motorboat, vessel, platform, person, object, or shore except at headway speed without creating a swell or wake. Headway speed is a slow, idle speed, or speed only fast enough to maintain steerage.
  • Operate a PWC and jump the wake of another vessel recklessly or unnecessarily close.

Note: Children under 13 are specifically prohibited from operating a PWC unless accompanied on board by a person at least 18 years of age who can lawfully operate the PWC.