Personal Watercraft Etiquette

Sure, they’re small and fun to operate. But with the horsepower of a large outboard engine and the acceleration of a motorcycle, personal watercraft (PWC) aren’t toys.

It’s important to know how to stay safe when sharing the water. Here are a some important PWC safety and etiquette rules to live by:

  • NEVER try and jump the wake of a passing boat.
  • When coming up behind another craft, steer to the right and pass (just like driving a car on the freeway).
  • If overtaking another boat, you may pass on either side, but you must keep clear.
  • If you’re about to cross paths with another vessel, the craft on the right should be allowed to continue at the same speed and direction, and you must alter your speed and direction to pass safely behind.
  • If you cut across the wake of another craft, make sure that craft doesn’t obstruct both your own visibility and your visibility to others.
  • Wear a life jacket approved for PWC use.
  • Take a safe boating course.
  • Know the laws and don’t push the limits.
  • Learn the meaning of navigation marks and signs.
  • Never ride after consuming drugs or alcohol.
  • Carry no more passengers than the vessel’s rating allows.
  • Check your craft for proper function before riding.
  • Respect ecologically sensitive areas and wildlife.
  • Large vessels, sailboats under sail, and paddle craft should always be given priority.
  • Be conscious of the noise your craft makes, especially near shore. And always start the engine in the water, and warm up the engine before you set off.


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