Personal Watercraft Guidelines Answer Failed to Float

Posted on: Friday, 9 May 2008, 00:00 CDT
A few weeks ago, I responded to a question about age requirements for operating personal watercraft on the Ohio River. Several readers chimed in to suggest that my answer was incorrect because, according to them, in these parts, Kentucky owns and rules the Ohio River, including its Indiana shores.
Sounded fishy to me, but I've been known to reel in a gar when casting about for answers, so I checked with Mike Kellner, a conservation officer and public information officer with Indiana Department of Natural Resources District 7.
In general, the Ohio River is considered a common boundary between Indiana and Kentucky, and - again, in general - the states share joint jurisdiction over it. Yes, there are areas along the river where Kentucky alone rules the roost. I'm not going into that here - if you are venturing onto the river, it's up to you to get the 411 on which state's rules apply where.
Fortunately, for the sake of ease for both citizens and law enforcement, both Indiana and Kentucky attempt to coordinate their hunting, fishing and boating laws.

Are they identical? No.
And don't forget that Coast Guard regulations factor in here, too. With all these rules and regs to sort out, what's a boater to do?
First, educate yourself about both state's laws in the area you plan to boat.
"The Handbook of Indiana Boating Laws and Responsibilities" is available on the web at or you can call either 789-9538, 1-800-TIP-IDNR (800-847-4367), or your local sheriff's department.
For Kentucky's laws, visit, or call either 1-800-858- 1549 (the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources) or again, your local sheriff's department.
When in doubt, follow the most stringent of any of the rules of either state that apply to the area you're in. That way, you are covered no matter which state's long arm of the law you happen to run into.
As for age requirements for operating personal watercrafts, Kentucky's laws state that "a person must be 12 years or older to operate a motorboat (including personal watercraft) 10 horsepower or over on Kentucky public waters.
"A person 12-17 years old shall possess a Kentucky Safe Boating Certificate Card or a certificate showing successful completion of a NASBLA (National Association of State Boating Law Administrators)- approved boater education course."
In Indiana, 15-year-olds who have completed a boater education course approved by the Department of Natural Resources and carry on board with them an identification card issued by the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles may operate personal watercrafts.
In this case, Indiana wins the stringency contest, but it can't hurt to double check with authorities before you hit the water.
Whatever floats your boat, as long as it's above board.
* Got a question about local news, issues, history or trivia? E- mail it to or call 464-7466 and leave a voice mail stating your question. Please note that we cannot answer all questions.
(c) 2008 Evansville Courier & Press. Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning. All rights Reserved.

Source: Evansville Courier & Press
Personal Watercraft Guidelines Answer Failed to Float - Science - redOrbit