Facts On Personal Watercraft

"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.

The Law

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 been altered.

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 of age.

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:

Water Smart Responsibilities

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 Safe Boating Guide.

Ride Smart. Ride Sobber


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.