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  1. #1
    Moderator RX951's Avatar
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    Apr 2005
    League City, Texas

    ~ BASIC RULES To Personal Watercraft ~


    What is a PWC? The official definition of a personal watercraft varies from state to state, but they are generally recognized as a vessel which uses an inboard motor powering a water jet pump as its primary source of motive power, and which is designed to be operated by a person sitting, standing, or kneeling on the vessel, rather than the conventional manner of sitting or standing in the vessel. PWCs are manufactured by Bombardier (Sea-Doo®), Honda (AquaTrax®), Kawasaki (JET SKI®), Polaris, and Yamaha (WaveRunner®).

    Facts On Personal Watercraft
    "Personal watercraft" means a vessel less than 12 feet in length, propelled by machinery, that is designed to be operated by a person sitting, standing, or kneeling on the vessel rather than in the conventional manner of sitting or standing inside the vessel.
    The Law

    Personal watercraft (PWC) are subject to the same laws governing the operation of motorboats of the same size. For proper display of registration numbers and stickers, see the Registration section of this page. For more information, see the Department of Boating and Waterways publication, Safe Boating Hints for Personal Watercraft.

    To prevent collisions, every operator should follow the three basic rules of navigation:

    Practice good seamanship.
    Keep a sharp lookout.
    Maintain a safe speed.

    Lanyard/Self-Circling Device--The law requires a person operating a personal watercraft equipped with a lanyard cutoff switch to attach the lanyard to his or her person. Operating a personal watercraft equipped with a self-circling device is prohibited if the self-circling device has been altered.

    Nighttime Operation Prohibited--The law prohibits the operation of a personal watercraft at any time between the hours from one-half hour after sunset to one-half hour before sunrise.

    Operator Age--It is an infraction for a person under 16 years of age to operate a motorboat of more than 15 horsepower, including personal watercraft. Any person who permits a person under the age of 16 to do so is guilty of an infraction. A person 12-15 may operate a motorboat of more than 15 horsepower if supervised by a person on board who is at least 18 years of age.

    Reasonable and Prudent Operation- State law holds that no person shall operate any craft in a reckless or negligent manner so as to endanger the life, limb or property of any person. Some examples are:

    Navigating a vessel, skis, or other devices between a towing vessel and its tow or tows.
    Operating under the influence of intoxicants or narcotics.
    Jumping or attempting to jump the wake of another vessel within 100 feet of the other vessel constitutes unsafe operation, under a new law which went into effect on January 1, 1998. Other actions which constitute unsafe operation are operating a PWC toward any person or vessel in the water and turning sharply so as to spray the person or vessel; and operating at a rate of speed and proximity to another vessel so that either operator is required to swerve at the last minute to avoid collision. Operating a PWC at night (between the hours from one-half hour after sunset to one-half hour before sunrise) is illegal under the new law, even if the PWC is equipped with the proper navigational lights.

    Water Smart Responsibilities
    Assume the responsibility for the safe operation of this powerboat and the safety of my passangers.
    Respect the righhts of others in, on and near the water.
    Practiced personal watercraft operation under the instruction of a mature and experienced rider.
    Never carry non-swimmers.
    Recklessness Spoils The Fun Of It All
    Most personal watercraft injuries result form COLLISIONS caused by rider


    Always operate your personal watercraft safely and responsibly, and in accordance with the manufacture's directions.
    Riding takes practice.
    Allow plenty of time to learn how to safely operate your personal watercraft. Be sure to obtain and read the US Coast Gaurd's Safe Boating Guide.

    Know.... Before You Go!

    1. Know your craft and how it operates

    2. Know your local boating laws

    3. Know navigational marks and signs

    4. Know the rules of the road

    A Personal Watercraft Code of Ethics

    1. I will respect the rights of all users of recreational waterways, both on public waters and adjacent private property.
    2. I will be considerate of other users at the launch ramps and docks.
    3. I will follow the navigation rules of the road around all other vessels, including regulations prohibiting wake jumping.
    4. I will give all anchored or drifting vessels plenty of room.
    5. I will always operate at headway speed in "no wake" zones.
    6. When approaching shore, I will be especially aware of swimmers, divers and other craft.
    7. I will not disturb wildlife and will avoid areas posted for the protection of wildlife.
    8. I will not litter the shore, nor be careless with fuel or oil.
    9. I will volunteer assistance in case of emergency.
    10. I will determine my speed by my equipment, my ability, the weather, wave conditions and especially other vessel traffic.
    11. I will not interfere with others' boating pleasure.
    12. I will pay close attention to the noise level of my PWC and be aware of how others are reacting.


    Launch ramp etiquette. Be considerate and efficient when launching your personal watercraft. Prepare your craft beforehand, and perform all safety checks before you get to the water. Launch quickly and quietly.
    Noise. Be considerate of waterfront property owners and others near and on the water. Excessive noise from poorly maintained or modified exhaust systems disturb others and is illegal in many areas.
    Environment. Respect ecologically-sensitive areas. Don't spill fuel or oil and don't leave litter or other pollutants where they don't belong. Be sensitive to marine life; the water is their home.
    Other water enthusiasts. Personal watercraft riders must share the waterways with other boaters, fishermen, swimmers, surfers, and skiers, so respect their rights to safety, access, and use of the water.

    Take a course
    Safe boating instruction is available from a variety of sources. To make inquiries, contact:
    U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary: (800) 869-SAIL(7245)
    U.S. Power Squadrons: (800) SEA-SKIL (732-7545)
    Your local personal watercraft dealer
    Coast Guard Toll Free Hotline
    For answers to your boating safety questions call the U.S. Coast Guard Customer Infoline: (800) 368-5647

    Ride Smart. Ride Sober
    Never operate your personal watercraft under the influence of alchol. Alcohol imapairs your ability to make good quick decisions - and execute them. Qualities which are critical when driving a fast and manoeuverable vessel like a personal watercraft.
    Moreover, driving a vehicle - including any vessel - under the influence of alcohol or drugs is punishable under the criminal code of any state.
    Operating a boat while consuming alcohol is illegal.

    All personal watercraft must be licenced and/or registered.

    Rules of the Road


    Stay well clear of other boats and yield to them scince they are less manoeuverable. When in the vicinity of other boats you are obliged to maintain speed and course. When meeting head on, keep Right.
    The Royal Life Saving Society Canada thanks the Canadian Coast Guard, Allied Boating Association of Canada and the Canadian Watercraft Training Centre for assistance in the development of this publication.

    The Cold Wet Facts About Cold Water
    Immersion in cold water can result in a real life-threatening drop in body temperature (hypothermia). Hypothermia can also be caused by chilling wind, rain and perspiration.

    To avoid danger
    Prepare for cold air and water by dressing properly - including wearing your Personal Flotation Device. With a whistle fastened to your PFD or lifejacket you can signal for help.

    If you end up in cold water
    If you can, get out of the water as soon as possible. Cold water robs body heat 25 times faster than air of the same temperature. Climb back on your craft.

    Stay with your craft
    Do not try to swim to shore in cold water unless you are very close to safety and you have no expectation of speedy assistance.

    Swimming, treading water and survival floating (drownproofing) all use up valuable energy and produce rapid heat loss. If you can't get out of the water, wearing your PFD will help increase your survival time by keeping your head out of the water.

    Recommended Protective Equipment

    Anatomy of a Personal Watercraft

    PWC don'ts

    Always Refer to your Manuals for proper information


    Last edited by RX951; 07-10-2009 at 08:00 AM.

  2. #2
    ABBOTT's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Birmingham, AL / Lay Lake
    its absolutly amazing to see the idiots out on the local lakes every summer. Some of the things that they do makes you want to just shoot them, but i will say that it makes for an interesting laugh.

    What would the world be like without idiots in it???............Hummmmmmmm imagine the possibilities....

    Great post Billy!

  3. #3
    Moderator RX951's Avatar
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    Apr 2005
    League City, Texas
    yEp, the local boat ramp can so comical !

  4. #4
    Happily Self-Employed WFO's Avatar
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    Nov 2005
    Houston, Texas
    As a personal rule of thumb, I am usually out of the water by 2:00-3:00 PM.

    I love to sit at the ramp and watch the cluster fuck of idiots loading, un-loading, slipping, fighting, wrecking, losing stuff, leaving stuff, jockying for position, dropping boats, forgetting to tie-down, and all that fun stuff

  5. +1 by:

  6. #5
    Moderator RX951's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    League City, Texas

    "The Rules" For Using Boat Ramps

    Given the crowded conditions at boat ramps, following proper procedure and etiquette will save time and prevent you from becoming a ramp rage victim.

    Prepare boat at far end of parking lot. This includes installing transom plug, raising Bimini top, loading gear, placing fenders, readying dock lines, checking fuel, finding key and turning on battery switch.

    Once you are 100% ready, get your truck in line to use the ramp.

    When it’s your turn, back down the ramp, get your boat off the trailer and quickly move your truck to the parking lot. Someone on your boat should immediately start the boat’s engine and move it aside to the waiting dock (so the next person can immediately use the ramp.)

    Do not put your boat in the water, then prepare or load it while at the ramp.


    Organize your gear while underway back to the ramp area.

    Approach the ramp area, tie-off to the waiting dock (not in the ramp area.)

    Have someone get the truck and trailer from the parking lot. They should wait in the truck line until it’s your turn. Unload all boat passengers at this time.

    While one person backs the trailer down the ramp, the captain unties the boat from the waiting dock and moves it to the ramp.

    Once boat is on trailer, raise the propeller and immediately move boat to the far end of the parking lot. Remove transom plug and gear. Turn off battery. Lower Bimini top and install tie-downs. Only now is it okay to take your time.

    Do not tie boat up at the ramp and then leave to get your truck. This can enrage other boaters.

    Do not unload gear from boat while at the ramp.

    Do not boat into a ramp when other boaters are tied off and waiting. Doing so is guaranteed to cause conflict.

    Remember to be well prepared and to know your launching/retrieving routine. Do each task in the same order every time. Having a checklist allows you to quickly proceed through each task without fear of forgetting something important (like the drain plug!)

  7. #6
    Moderator RX951's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    League City, Texas

  8. #7
    Hydrotoys's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Mesa, AZ

  9. #8
    Moderator RX951's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    League City, Texas
    ttt for the holiday Weekend

  10. #9
    Moderator RX951's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    League City, Texas
    My 14 year old daughter just took the Texas Boaters Safety Course today and passed.

    I found this small flash video that I found very educational and simple for sharing with family members ro friends new to the PWC world.

    Being on the water is very fun, but education is a must when introducing kids to this activity/hobby.

  11. #10
    Moderator RX951's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    League City, Texas


    Good Etiquette

    Do not obstruct the navigation of other vessels.

    Stay away from busy sea areas and do not obstruct the navigation of other vessels.
    Steer away from other vessels before getting unnecessarily close.

    Be careful not to disturb others

    Be careful not to disturb others by revving the motor and making noise.

    Do not litter.

    Stay away from fixed nets and farms.

    Stay away from fisherman and divers.

    To Prevent accident

    Scan Constantly

    Scan constantly for people, objects and other watercraft.
    Be alert for conditions that limit your visibility or block your vision of other.

    Keep Away from intake Grate

    Items such as long hair, loose clothing, or PFD straps can become entangled in moving parts resulting in severe injury or drowning.

    Do Not Apply Throttle when Anyone is at the Rear of the PWC

    Do not apply the throttle when anyone is standing or swimming toward the rear of the PWC. Water and / or debris exiting jet thrust nozzle can cause serious injury.

    Keep out of swimming area.

    Hitting someone in the water can cause serious injury.
    Keep out of swimming area when on a WaveRunner.

    Stay out of prohibited sreas.

    Speeding is dangerous.

    Observe the speed limit in restricted areas.

    When towing someone or something…….

    When towing someone or something, pay attention to ensure safety in the surrounding area and do not ride dangerously.

    Do not ride at night.

    Riding in the dark is very dangerous.
    Do not ride at night

    Weather at sea can change without warning.

    Reminders Before Riding

    Wear PFD and Other Protective Clothing / Equipment

    You must wear an appropriate personal flotation device (PFD) at all times.
    Wear a wet-suit (or wet suit bottom) while operating the PWC.
    Normal swimwear does not adequately protect against forceful water entry into rectum or vagina.
    Severe internal injuries can occur if water is forced into body cavities as a result of falling into water or being near jet thrust nozzle.
    Additional protective equipment (such as footwear , gloves) may be needed.

    It is very dangerous to drink ride.

    Never get on a WaveRunner if you have been drinking.
    Relaxing your attention even slightly increases the potential for a serious accident much more on water than on land.

    Check the weather

    Check the weather on the radio, TV or other source before leaving. Check the forecast for the next several days and pay special attention to wave height and wind speed.

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