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Now let’s talk about PWCs—personal watercraft, otherwise known as Jet Skis, Sea-Doos, WaveRunners. Obviously, they’re a lot of fun out on the water. Missouri has specific laws regarding PWCs.
Why do they have these laws?
Well, personal watercraft are involved in a high number of the crashes that we work. They’re roughly only about 10 percent of the boats that are registered in the state of Missouri, but they’re involved in anywhere from 30 to 40 percent of the crashes that we investigate. So, in an effort to try to reduce the number of crashes and injuries that occur, Missouri has laws that are specific only to personal watercraft, to their operators, and their passengers.
What are those specific laws?
Two of them are going to refer to a distance. Any time you’re aboard a personal watercraft, you have to stay 50 feet away, if you are above idle speed, from any other boats, people in the water, or other personal watercraft. If you’re going to jump the wake of a passing vessel and become airborne, you have to make sure you’re at least 100 feet behind them. The other two laws are going to refer to equipment. One is that the operator is required to wear the kill switch lanyard at all times. And two, the operator and all passengers, no matter what their age, are required to wear a personal flotation device.