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It's the Law


PWC operators must obey additional legal requirements that apply specifically to the operation of personal watercraft on Arizona waters. The definition of a “personal watercraft” is a watercraft that is less than 16 feet long; is propelled by machinery powering a water jet pump; and is designed to be operated by a person who sits, stands, or kneels on, rather than sitting or standing inside, the watercraft.

Requirements Specific to PWC


Each person on board a PWC must wear a U.S. Coast Guard–approved wearable personal flotation device (PFD). They must be worn according to the manufacturer’s design and recommended use. All closures must be fastened and adjusted for a snug fit.

An operator of a PWC equipped with a lanyard-type engine cut-off switch must attach the lanyard to his or her person, clothing, or PFD.

It is illegal to operate a PWC between sunset and sunrise or during periods of restricted visibility unless the PWC is equipped with the proper navigation lights.

PWC must be operated in a careful and responsible manner. It is considered reckless operation if a PWC operator commits two or more of the following acts simultaneously:

  • Operating within 60 feet of another vessel above a wakeless speed.
  • Operating within the vicinity of a vessel in a manner that obstructs the visibility of either operator.
  • Heading into the wake of a vessel that is within 60 feet and causing half or more of the length of the personal watercraft to leave the water.
  • Operating within 60 feet of another vessel, maneuvering quickly, turning sharply, or swerving unless the maneuver is necessary to avoid a collision.

A PWC may not be loaded with passengers and gear beyond the safe carrying capacity recommended by the PWC manufacturer.