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It's the Law

New Hampshire law defines a “ski craft” as any motorized vessel that is less than 13 feet in length, is capable of exceeding 20 miles per hour, and has the capacity to carry no more than an operator and one other person.

Requirements Specific to “Ski Craft”

No one under the age of 16 years may operate a “ski craft” legally on any lake, pond, or river.

The operator of a “ski craft” must wear a U.S. Coast Guard (USCG)–approved Type I, II, or III life jacket at all times.

“Ski craft” may be operated on any lake, pond, river, or coastal water during daylight hours (sunrise to sunset) only.

It is illegal to operate a “ski craft” at greater than headway speed if within 150 feet of swimmers in the water, other vessels or “ski craft,” rafts or floats, docks, swimming areas, or mooring fields.

It is illegal to operate a “ski craft” within a cove (a bay or inlet that does not exceed 1,000 feet at its widest point) or within 300 feet of shore unless the “ski craft” is proceeding at headway speed directly to an area where “ski craft” operation is permitted.

“Ski craft” must operate in a responsible manner. It is illegal to:

  • Weave a “ski craft” through congested waterway traffic.
  • Get dangerously close to another vessel, person, or object such that you are required to swerve at the last possible moment in order to avoid a collision.
  • Operate a “ski craft” in any other careless or negligent way or in a way that endangers the life, limb, or property of others.

“Ski craft” may not be operated on any lake, pond, or river where the operation of “ski craft” is prohibited by law. (Operation of a “ski craft” is prohibited on any pond or lake less than 75 acres in area.)

Although not legally required, it is strongly recommended that an operator of a perosnal watercraft (PWC) equipped with a lanyard-type engine cut-off switch attach the lanyard to his or her person, clothing, or life jacket.