A RIDERS GUIDE TO
Facts On Personal Watercraft
means a vessel less than 12 feet in length, propelled by machinery, that
is designed to be operated by a person sitting, standing, or kneeling on
the vessel rather than in the conventional manner of sitting or standing
inside the vessel.
Personal watercraft (PWC) are subject to the same laws governing the
operation of motorboats of the same size. For proper display of registration
numbers and stickers, see the Registration
section of this page. For more information, see the Department
of Boating and Waterways publication, Safe
Boating Hints for Personal Watercraft.
Lanyard/Self-Circling Device--The law requires a person operating a
personal watercraft equipped with a lanyard cutoff switch to attach the
lanyard to his or her person. Operating a personal watercraft equipped
with a self-circling device is prohibited if the self-circling device has
Nighttime Operation Prohibited--The law prohibits the operation of a
personal watercraft at any time between the hours from one-half hour after
sunset to one-half hour before sunrise.
Operator Age--It is an infraction for a person under 16 years of age
to operate a motorboat of more than 15 horsepower, including personal watercraft.
Any person who permits a person under the age of 16 to do so is guilty
of an infraction. A person 12-15 may operate a motorboat of more than 15
horsepower if supervised by a person on board who is at least 18 years
Reasonable and Prudent Operation- California law holds that no person
shall operate any craft in a reckless or negligent manner so as to endanger
the life, limb or property of any person. Some examples are:
Navigating a vessel, skis, or other devices between a towing vessel and
its tow or tows.
Operating under the influence of intoxicants or narcotics.
Jumping or attempting to jump the wake of another vessel within 100 feet
of the other vessel constitutes unsafe operation, under a new law which
went into effect on January 1, 1998. Other actions which constitute unsafe
operation are operating a PWC toward any person or vessel in the water
and turning sharply so as to spray the person or vessel; and operating
at a rate of speed and proximity to another vessel so that either operator
is required to swerve at the last minute to avoid collision. Operating
a PWC at night (between the hours from one-half hour after sunset to one-half
hour before sunrise) is illegal under the new law, even if the PWC is equipped
with the proper navigational lights.
Water Smart Responsibilities
Assume the responsibility for the safe operation of this powerboat and
the safety of my passangers.
Respect the righhts of others in, on and near the water.
Practiced personal watercraft operation under the instruction of a mature
and experienced rider.
Never carry non-swimmers.
Recklessness Spoils The Fun Of It All
Most personal watercraft injuries result form COLLISIONS caused by rider
Always operate your personal watercraft safely and responsibly, and in
accordance with the manufacture's directions.
Riding takes practice. Allow plenty of time to learn how to safely operate
your personal watercraft. Be sure to obtain and read the US Coast Gaurd's
Take a course
Safe boating instruction is available from a variety of sources. To
make inquiries, contact:
Coast Guard Toll Free Hotline
U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary: (800) 869-SAIL(7245)
U.S. Power Squadrons: (800) SEA-SKIL (732-7545)
Your local personal watercraft dealer
For answers to your boating safety questions call the U.S. Coast Guard
Customer Infoline: (800) 368-5647
Ride Smart. Ride Sobber
Never operate your personal watercraft under the influence of alchol.
Alcohol imapairs your ability to make good quick decisions - and execute
them. Qualities which are critical when driving a fast and manoeuverable
vessel like a personal watercraft.
Moreover, driving a vehicle - including any vessel - under the influence
of alcohol or drugs is punishable under the criminal code of Canada. Operating
a boat while consuming alcohol is illegal.
All personal watercraft must be licenced. Contact you local Canada
Customs office to obtain licence numbers.
LEARN THE RULES OF THE ROAD
Stay well clear of other boats and yield to them scince they are less
manoeuverable. When in the vicinity of other boats you are obliged to maintain
speed and course. When meeting head on, keep Right.
The Royal Life Saving Society Canada thanks the Canadian Coast Guard,
Allied Boating Association of Canada and the Canadian Watercraft Training
Centre for assistance in the development of this publication.
The Cold Wet Facts About Cold Water
Immersion in cold water can result in a real life-threatening drop in body
temperature (hypothermia). Hypothermia can also be caused by chilling wind,
rain and perspiration.
To avoid danger
Prepare for cold air and water
by dressing properly - including wearing your Personal Flotation Device.
With a whistle fastened to your PFD or lifejacket you can signal for help.
If you end up in cold water
If you can, get out of the water as soon as
possible. Cold water robs body heat 25 times faster than air of the same
temperature. Climb back on your craft.
Stay with your craft
Do not try to swim to shore in cold water
unless you are very close to safety and you have no expectation of speedy
Swimming, treading water and survival floating
(drownproofing) all use up valuable energy and produce rapid heat loss.
If you can't get out of the water, wearing your PFD will help increase
your survival time by keeping your head out of the water.
RECOMMENDED PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT