Personal Watercraft Require Attentive and Knowledgeable Operators

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Personal watercraft operation requires attention to safety. RALEIGH, N.C. – Propelled by jets of water, personal watercraft are fast and easy to maneuver, which is a large part of their appeal – and their potential danger.

“You need to know how your personal watercraft works and the regulations that apply to its ownership and operation before you get on it,” said Capt. Chris Huebner, the state’s boating safety coordinator. “Any maneuver that endangers people or property constitutes reckless operation and is breaking the law.”

Reckless operation, lack of proper safety equipment and exceeding capacity are the most frequently cited violations for personal watercraft operators in North Carolina. Another common violation is underage operators. State law restricts anyone younger than 16 from operating a personal watercraft unless:

  • They are at least 14 years old and riding with a person who is at least 18.
  • They are at least 14 years old and have successfully completed an approved boating safety education course, and have proof of age and safety course completion with them while operating the personal watercraft.

“It is also against the law to knowingly let anyone younger than 16 operate a personal watercraft who doesn’t meet those qualifications,” Capt. Huebner added.

For more information on operating a personal watercraft in North Carolina, click here or call (919) 707-0031.

To enroll in a free N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission-sponsored Boating Education Course, click here or call (919) 707-0031.