NYSOPRHP

Safe Boating Personal Watercraft

Skip Navigation LinksHome : Recreation : Boating : Safe Boating : Personal Watercraft

Personal Watercraft - Legal Requirements

Equipment

  • Required Equipment (Operator's responsibility)
    • Life Jacket (required to be worn by all persons)
    • Engine Cut-off Lanyard
    • Sound Producing Device
    • Visual Distress Signal
    • Backfire Flame Arrestor
    • Fire Extinguisher (on waters under USCG jurisdiction)
  • Recommended Equipment
    • Footwear
    • Eye Wear - goggles or sunglasses
    • Wet Suit
    • Gloves

Operating Restrictions

  • Operator must have completed a boating safety course
  • Minimum operator age is 14
  • Operation prohibited between sunset and sunrise
  • Reckless Operation
    • weaving through congested traffic
    • jumping the wake of another vessel
    • playing chicken
  • PWC prohibited within 500 feet of bathing beach/swim area
  • Renting a Personal Watercraft
    • must be at least 16 yrs old
    • must show ID and proof of age
    • the rental operator must show correct operating procedures and proper use of safety equipment
    • must have a proof of completion of approved boating safety course

Operating Behaviors to Avoid

These behaviors are not illegal, but contribute to a negative image of PWC.

  • Operating continuously in one location
  • Operating in groups/packs
  • Operating too close to shore, docks, marinas
  • Operating too close to fisherman
  • Operating in and around launching areas
  • Starting too early - Sunrise is early in summer
  • Operation near environmentally sensitive areas or disturbing wildlife
  • Forcing larger craft to maneuver unnecessarily or excessively, especially commercial vessels
  © 2014 New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. All rights reserved.