Personal Water Craft operators must obey the laws that apply to other vessels as well as obey additional requirements that apply specifically to the operation of personal watercraft on
Requirements Specific to Personal Water Crafts (PWC)
- Each person riding on or being towed behind a PWC must wear a U.S. Coast Guard approved personal flotation device (life jacket).
- If the PWC is equipped with a lanyard-type ignition safety switch, the lanyard must be attached to the person, clothing or PFD of the operator at all times while the PWC is being operated.
- It is illegal to operate a PWC between sunset and sunrise unless the PWC is equipped with the required navigation lights.
- PWCs must be operated in a reasonable and prudent manner at all times. It is illegal to operate in a reckless manner.
Examples of illegal operation are:
Operating a PWC at greater than “slow, no wake speed” or “idle speed” within 150 feet of:
- Any boat ramp
- A dock or pier
- An anchored or moored vessel
- Operating a PWC within 50 feet of a moving vessel
- Weaving your PWC through congested traffic
- Intentionally waiting until the last moment to swerve and avoid a collision (“playing chicken”)
- It is illegal to chase, harass, or disturb wildlife with your PWC.
Vessel operators towing a person(s) using a para-sail or on water skis, a surfboard, or a similar device have additional laws they must follow.
Requirements for Towing Skiers
- Each person being towed must wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved personal flotation device.
- It is illegal for a vessel to tow a person(s) on water skis, a surfboard, a para-sail, or a similar device unless one of the following conditions is met.
- A person at least 8 years old, in addition to the vessel operator, is on board observing the towed person(s) or ..
o The vessel is equipped with an approved rearview mirror or mirrors so that the operator of the vessel can observe the progress of the person(s) being towed while facing forward.
o If the vessel is not a personal watercraft, one wide-angle convex rearview mirror must be installed.