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So these personal watercraft—very maneuverable. There’s a few laws that are specific just to them. What about speed and maneuverability?

Sergeant Mike Barr

They’re a very maneuverable vessel. In most situations you’ll find, though, that the laws are almost exactly the same from a regular boat to a jet-ski type of boat, normally called a personal watercraft.


A couple of the specific laws, in particular talking about speed?

Sergeant Barr

You know, on a personal watercraft, you’ve got to regulate that speed to be safe at all times. But specifically, if you’re within 100 feet of another vessel, that personal watercraft has to be at idle speed only. Not only another vessel, but a person in the water, a boat that’s anchored or adrift, a public day-use area, a bridge, a wharf, a piling. Those are all situations that you have to have that vessel at idle speed only. Idle speed only means at the lowest speed necessary in order to still maintain steering on the boat.


And there is a unique law that is different about jumping the wake.

Sergeant Barr

If you’re within 100 feet of another vessel, you specifically in a personal watercraft cannot jump the wake of another vessel. We see it almost every day on the water, especially with new operators. Sounds like a lot of fun—until you get in trouble.

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  • Topic 13 of 19
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