that appply to all boats with an emphasis on PWC
and recommended safety gear
to powerboat operators, PWC operators are required to have the
following safety equipment:
person on board must wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved, properly
fitted life jacket.
signaling device -- a whistle attached to your PFD and/or
a stored signal horn.
U.S. Coast Guard-approved Type B fire extinguisher, good for
gasoline and oil fires.
backfire flame arrestor that is clean, functional and well
secured, where applicable.
distress signals such as flares (required for coastal waters
and recommended for inland waters).
personal safety, a PWC operator should also have:
whistle attached to your life jacket, one that works even
protection, to protect from the sun, spray, and bugs. It is
recommended that you have a leash on your sunglasses to ensure
you don't lose them if you enter the water.
shoes/booties, to improve traction and protect your feet from
may improve your grip and comfort.
suit to protect you against sun, wind, abrasion, and hypothermia.
Manufacturers recommend wearing wetsuits to prevent injury.
to protect your head from injury. The type of helmet varies
with the type of water activity. Properly fitted helmet is mandatory
for racers during competition.
Sunscreen and lip protection.
devices such as a VHF radio or a cell phone.
to maintain good awareness and judgment
of natural stressors such as wind, sun, noise, and motion.
not drink alcohol or use drugs and operate a PWC.
is illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to drink alcohol.
you are convicted of operating a PWC while under the influence
of alcohol or drugs, you can lose the privilege of obtaining
or keeping your driver's license.
operate a PWC designed for one person, the operator must be 16
years of age or older. A person 12-15 years of age may operate
a PWC designed to carry two or more persons if the operator is
supervised on board by a person 18 years or older.
Identification Numbers (HIN)
HIN is a 12-digit number/letter combination that is stamped into
the hull of the vessel. A HIN is required for registration and
is useful in identifying a stolen PWC.
must be registered with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).
The registration numbers must be applied left to right on the
forward sides of the bow using 3" block letters of a contrasting
color. The state decal must be placed 3" aft (towards the back)
of the numbers. Letters are separated from the numbers by hyphens
or spaces equal to the width of the numbers. The
registration numbers should be placed above the water line for
registration certificate must be carried on the PWC when under
way. It is best to keep the registration certificate in a
Applying to PWC
is important to know that personal watercraft are subject to the
same boat operating and navigation rules as other powerboats.
Furthermore, many waterways in California may have unique local
regulations and it is your responsibility to know what these rules
are. Ignorance of the rules does not exempt the operator from
the law. To help make PWC a safer form of boating, the law prohibits
the operator of a PWC from:
unsafe or reckless practices.
another vessel's wake within 100 ft. of the vessel creating
at a speed in excess of 5 mph within 200 feet of a beach or
within 100 feet of swimmers, surfers or anyone else in the water.
at a rate of speed and proximity to another vessel causing either
operator to swerve at the last minute to avoid a collision.
a PWC toward any person or vessel in the water and turning sharply
at close range so as to spray that vessel or person.
the self-circling device on a PWC equipped with such a device.
a PWC without a properly attached lanyard that runs from the
cutoff or "kill" switch to his or her person.
a PWC between the hours from one-half hour after sunset to one-half
hour before sunrise.