Personal Watercraft Operation
[Table 4.6]

 

State

Does your state require users to wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved PFD when operating a PWC?

Does your state require PWC rental operators to provide any instruction or education in PWC operation prior to use?

If you answered "Yes" to the previous question, how much instruction is required?

Does your state prohibit PWC operation at any specific times?

If you answered "Yes" to the previous question, please list the times.

Alabama

Yes 

Yes 

The rental contract must specify that the lessee has been instructed in the proper and safe operation of the vessel by the lessor or an authorized agent of the lessor. The type of instruction/education is up to the lessor. 

Yes 

If the pwc is not equipped with navigation lights, operation is prohibited from sunset until sunrise. 

Alaska

No 

No 

 

No 

 

American Samoa

Yes 

No 

 

Yes 

sunset to sunrise 

Arizona

Yes 

No 

 

Yes 

It is illegal to operate a PWC between sunset and sunrise or during periods of restricted visibility. 

Arkansas

Yes 

Yes 

Operators must view a PWC instructional video (approved by AGFC) and the livery shall provide the operator written boating regulations. 

Yes 

Prohibited between 30 minutes after sunset and 30 minutes before sunrise. 

Australia

 

 

 

 

 

British Columbia

 

 

 

 

 

California

Yes 

No 

An instructional video prepared by state is made available for groups, individulas and clubs, but not required by law 

Yes 

No operation after sunset or before sunrise 

Colorado

yes 

no 

 

yes 

one half hour after sunset to one half hour before sunrise 

Connecticut

Yes 

No 

 

Yes 

sunset to sunrise and during periods of restricted visibility 

Delaware

Yes 

Yes 

must have a Naslba approved course to operate 

Yes 

sundown to sunrise 

District of Columbia

Yes 

Yes 

Operators are required to check user for a boating safety certificate prior to renting vessel. 

Yes 

Prohibited use from sunset to sunrise unless equipped with navigational lights in accordance with the US Coast Guard regulations. 

Florida

Yes 

Yes 

Liveries must provide instruction to renters on: Operational characteristics of the PWC to be rented. Safe vessel operation and vessel right-of-way rules. Responsibility of the operator, and safe and proper operation of the vessel. Local characteristics of the waterway where the vessel will be used. Operator responsibility (ethics), courtesy and good judgment on the water. Avoiding careless, reckless, and negligent operation of vessels. The effects of alcohol, controlled substances, and stressors. Navigation Rules. Maintaining proper lookout. Safe distance and speed. Operating defensively. Requirements to give way to other vessels. Aids to navigation; buoys and other waterway markers. Awareness of changes in weather or water conditions and proper responses to those changes. Waterskiing and similar activities, if applicable to the personal watercraft rented. Must wear personal flotation devices. Must have observer or wide-angle rearview mirror. May not ski between 30 minutes past sunset and 30 minutes before sunrise. Boating accidents. Causes and prevention of personal watercraft accidents. Legal requirements ‚Äì remaining on scene; rendering assistance; reporting  

Yes 

Operation of a PWC on the water is prohibited between ¬? hour after sunset to ¬? hour before sunrise. 

Georgia

Yes 

No 

 

Yes 

During hours of darkness, sunset to sunrise. 

Guam

Yes 

Yes 

No specific amount 

Yes 

Sun down to Sun up because they have no lights. 

Hawaii

Yes 

Yes 

Unspecified. Left to the operator's discretion per Hawaii Administrative Rule (HAR) 13-256-18: Commercial thrill craft operators shall be required to establish a safety instruction program for customers that includes, but is not limited to, the safe use of a thrill craft, boundaries of operating areas and the use of a personal flotation device.  

No 

 

Idaho

Yes 

Yes 

Watch educational video and go over safety checklist. Renter obtains card. 

Yes 

It is illegal ro operate a PWC between sunset and sunrise or other periods of restricted visibility. 

Illinois

Yes  

No  

 

Yes  

Prohibited sunset to sunrise  

Indiana

Yes 

No 

 

Yes 

Nightime use illegal unless PWC equipped with proper lighting and obey nightime speed limit 

Iowa

Yes 

No 

 

Yes 

Sunset to sunrise. 

Kansas

Yes 

No 

 

Yes 

sunset to sunrise 

Kentucky

Yes 

No 

 

Yes 

From sunset to sunrise 

Louisiana

Yes 

No 

 

Yes 

no night time use 

Maine

Yes 

No 

 

Yes 

PWC may not be operated during the hours between sunset and sunrise. 

Manitoba (Canada)

 

 

 

 

 

Maryland

Yes 

Yes 

Instruction and sucessful completion of a test 

Yes 

between sunset and sunrise 

Massachusetts

Yes 

Yes 

General safe operation of PWC and all PWC state regulations addressed. Safety Rules sticker and legal pamphlet covered. 

Yes 

Between sunset and sunrise. 

Michigan

Yes 

Yes 

A person who is not required to obtain a boater safety certificate issued by the department under the personal watercraft safety act, 1998 PA 116, MCL 281.1401 to 281.1445, before operating a personal watercraft, unless the person obtains training in the safe use of a personal watercraft from the boat livery prior to the lease, hire, or rent of the personal watercraft. The department shall provide to boat liveries guidelines for the training required under this subdivision. This is a tri-folded phamplet. 

Yes 

1 hour before sunset until 8 AM the following day. 

Minnesota

Yes 

Yes 

rentals are required to distribute a copy of PWC laws and to provide instrution. Must also provide safety gear. 

Yes 

1 hour before sunset to 9:30 AM the following day. 

Mississippi

Yes 

No 

 

No 

 

Missouri

Yes 

No 

 

No 

May only be operated during daylight hours, unless proper navagation light are lawfully installed and operational.  

Montana

Yes 

No 

 

No 

Appropriate lights required after dark 

Nebraska

Yes 

No 

 

Yes 

nighttime 

Nevada

Yes 

Yes 

Liveries must provide safety instruction and list of applicable laws 

Yes 

At night 

New Hampshire

No 

Yes 

Familiar with a minimum of 8 boating regulations including mandatory boating education 

Yes 

after sunset and before sunrise unless equipted with navigation lights.  

New Jersey

Yes 

Yes 

Nav rules Meeting situation crossing situation overtaking situation proper lookout safet speed Handleing characteristics of PWC Equipment req for class A vessel Oper inst for vessel being rented Operating under influence of alcohol/drugs 

Yes 

sunset to sunrise 

New Mexico

Yes 

Yes 

Instructional checklist and review of operation and state boating laws and regulations. 

Yes 

Between Sunset and Sunrise 

New York

Yes 

Yes 

(b) the operator of such livery, or his designated agent, prior to permitting the use by such person of such personal watercraft or specialty prop-craft, explains and demonstrates to such person by video or actual in water demonstration the operating procedure of such personal watercraft or specialty prop-craft and the use of such vessel's safety equipment; (c) such person, after receiving the explanation and demonstration required pursuant to paragraph (b) of this subdivision, demonstrates to such livery operator or to such designated agent the ability to operate such vessel and use the applicable safety equipment;  

Yes 

phohibited from sunset to sunrise 

North Carolina

Yes 

No 

 

Yes 

Sunset to sunrise 

North Dakota

Yes 

Yes 

 

Yes 

 

Northern Mariana Islands

Yes 

Yes 

 

Yes 

one hour after sunset to one hour before sunrise 

Ohio

Yes 

Yes 

Pass approved boating course or proficiency exam, recieve educational materials and pass exam with 90% or better. 

Yes 

Sunset to sunrise. 

Oklahoma

Yes 

No 

 

Yes 

From sunset to sunrise unless equipped with proper lights. 

Ontario (Canada)

 

 

 

 

 

Oregon

Yes 

Yes 

Safety Checklist and/or course 

No 

 

Pennsylvania

Yes 

Yes 

NASBLA approved course 

Yes 

Sunrise and sunset 

Puerto Rico

Yes 

Yes 

For residents a the license for vessel operation is require. For non-residents a brief orientation and an ID is require.  

Yes 

Before dawn and after sunset. 

Quebec (Canada)

 

 

 

 

 

Rhode Island

Yes 

Yes 

view a video and pass a test 

Yes 

1/2 after sunset,1/2 hour before sunrise 

South Carolina

Yes 

No 

 

Yes 

Between the hours of Sunet and Sunrise 

South Dakota

Yes 

No 

 

No 

 

Tennessee

Yes 

Yes 

Oreintation instruction video provided by TWRA 

Yes 

Sunset to sunrise and inclement weather 

Texas

Yes 

Yes 

29 

Yes 

between Sunset and Sunrise 

Utah

Yes 

Yes 

Owner or agent of livery must advise renter off all rules which he must obey. (This applys to all boats not just PWCs.) 

Yes 

sunset to sunrise 

Vermont

Yes 

No 

 

No 

 

Virgin Islands

 

 

 

 

 

Virginia

Yes 

Yes 

Must cover laws governing motorboat operation, specific operating requirements of the PWC being rented, safety equipment requirements, reportable accident requirements, and other information as may be determined. 

Yes 

Prohibited sunset to sunrise 

Washington

Yes 

Yes 

A rental checklist is required to be reviewed & completed with person renting the vessel. 

Yes 

No PWC operation between hours of sunset to sunrise. 

West Virginia

Yes 

Yes 

20 min. orientation class 

Yes 

Sunset to sunrise 

Wisconsin

Yes 

Yes 

A single sheet review of PWC laws with signature of operator 

Yes 

Sunset to Sunrise 

Wyoming

Yes 

No