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It's the Law


Personal watercraft (PWC) operators must adhere to the legal requirements of all boating laws and those specific to the operation of PWC on Missouri waters.

Requirements Specific to PWC


Everyone on board a PWC while underway must wear a USCG–approved Type I, II, III, or V PFD.

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.

You must be at least 14 years of age to operate a PWC, unless a supervising person at least 16 years of age is also on board the PWC.

If born after January 1, 1984, you must have a boating safety identification card that is NASBLA–approved and issued by MSHP, or other state, to operate a PWC.

It is illegal to operate a PWC while you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

PWC must be operated in a careful and responsible manner.

Specifically, it is illegal for PWC operators to:

  • Weave the PWC through congested waterway traffic.
  • Jump the wake of another motorboat when visibility is obstructed.
  • Become airborne while crossing the wake of another motorboat and within 100 feet of that motorboat.
  • Operate at greater than “slow, no wake” speed within 50 feet of any other vessel, PWC, or person in the water.
  • Operate in a manner that requires swerving at the last possible moment to avoid collision.

Also, it is strongly recommended that PWC be operated only during daylight hours. If a PWC is operated at night, the PWC must display the required navigation lights.

PWC are exempt from displaying the skier-down flag.

Ignition Safety Switch