Requirements Specific to Personal Watercraft (PWCs)
In addition to adhering to all boating laws, personal watercraft (PWC) operators have requirements specific to their vessel.
- You must have a Boating Safety Education Certificate to operate a PWC legally.
- Everyone on board a PWC must wear a U.S. Coast Guard–approved Type I, II, III, or V personal flotation device (PFD) at all times. Inflatable PFDs are not acceptable on a PWC. Type III PFDs are recommended.
- An operator of a PWC equipped with a lanyard-type ignition safety switch must attach the lanyard to his or her person, clothing, or PFD.
- PWC operators must carry on board a fully charged fire extinguisher and a sound-producing device.
- PWCs may be operated during daylight hours only (sunrise to sunset).
- PWCs must be operated in a responsible manner. It is illegal to:
- Weave your PWC through congested waterway traffic or swerve at the last possible moment in order to avoid collision.
- Operate a PWC at greater than “slow, no wake speed if within 100 feet of a shoreline, docks, or launch ramps; swimmers, downed skiers, or persons wading in the water; or anchored, moored, or drifting vessels or floats.
- Cause a PWC to become airborne while crossing another vessel’s wake when within 100 feet of the vessel creating the wake.
- Operate at faster than “slow, no wake speed”within 100 feet to the rear of or 50 feet to the side of another vessel that is underway (unless in a narrow channel).
- Operate within 100 feet of anyone being towed behind another vessel.