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  1. #1

    legal difference between pwc and boat?

    So if it's illegal to ride a pwc at night even with lights what's the technical difference between a pwc and any other boat, i.e. how does the coast guard draw the line on classification?


  2. #2
    Tommy Pantsdown's Avatar
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    "Personal watercraft are defined as motorboats less than 16 feet in length that are powered by jet pumps, not propellers, where the persons stand, kneel, or sit on, rather than inside the boat. "

  3. #3

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    I believe that the Coast Guard uses 13 feet as the length demarcation. I'll ask on Monday but I think the Feds defines it differently than most municipalities.

  4. #4
    This is how I run a jetski shop in the desert nmpeter's Avatar
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    since the shuttle craft gizmo is actually defined as a boat, I would say off the cuff that the difference is the "bowl effect" of a "boat" even if it is a canoe. Tommy hit it on the head.

  5. #5
    In AZ We have people who ride their ski's at night with std boat marker lights
    They stated it's legal .. IDK I looked into it for a bit but could never figure out the letter of the law

  6. #6
    83Gator's Avatar
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    Some laws may vary state to state (night use? I'm not sure if that's fed or not), but yeah, +1 to Tommy: "on" versus "in" and "pump" versus "traditional prop".

  7. #7
    Never say never KirkF350's Avatar
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    Tommy did get it right but it all depends on the guy that pulls you over.
    In Texas, I had several talks with game wardens about the shuttle craft and if I could drive that at night since it was classified as a boat. No problem. I asked them about putting lights on my ski to run and night and he said no because it is not a boat, its a PWC. You ride in a boat and on a PWC. There is a difference between the two. No big deal.
    2 years later I'm on a lake and I see buoys that said NO BOATS in a very nice area; they did not read NO PWC, or even NO WATERCRAFT. I pull my ski up in the grass and chill. The game warden made quick way and we then had a heated conversation about the topic. He did not agree with my logic and was a little pissed off when I told him that they need to be more clear on their markings so this wouldn't confuse others. At this point, he was about to give me a ticket, I guess for being a smart ass since I technically didn't break the law, so I left. LOL.

  8. #8
    Tommy Pantsdown's Avatar
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    Yeah, that was a direct quote from the USCG definition that I posted, which is why I put it in quotations. lol Glad I helped.

  9. #9
    So did a little research on the rules in Idaho and this is what came up with:
    Operating at night is prohibited without the proper combination of lights installed by the manufacturer.
    http://parksandrecreation.idaho.gov/...q.aspx#PWCRegs
    That "by the manufacturer" part could be a grey area I guess. However searching the State's statutes i couldn't find anything. So I'll have to do some more diggin

  10. #10
    Some good info here:
    http://www.uscgboating.org/state_boating_laws.aspx
    looks like several state allow it with lights

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