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It's the Law


PWC operators must obey laws that apply to other vessels as well as obey additional requirements that apply specifically to the operation of personal watercraft.

Requirements Specific to PWCs


Each person riding on a PWC must wear a U.S. Coast Guard–approved Type I, II, III, or V personal flotation device.

PWCs must be equipped with a fully operational self-circling device or a lanyard-type engine cut-off switch. If the engine cut-off switch is used, the lanyard must be attached to the person or PFD of the operator.

It is illegal to:

  • Operate a PWC between sunset and sunrise.
  • Operate a PWC at greater than idle speed if within 50 feet of a non-moving boat, a dock or pier, a bridge, or a person in the water.
  • Jump the wake of another boat unnecessarily close to the other boat or when visibility around the other boat is restricted.
  • Operate a PWC so that it leaves the water (jumps) within 200 feet of a boat whose wake it is crossing.
  • Operate a PWC in excess of idle speed within 100 yards of the Atlantic coastline.
  • Chase, harass, or disturb wildlife.

Remember that as an owner of a PWC, it is illegal for you to allow anyone else to operate your PWC in such a way that it violates the laws of South Carolina.