Personal Water Craft are considered by the Coast Guard to be Class A inboard motor vessels and as such must adhere to the same Coast Guard regulations and standards as any other powerboats in this category, such as they must have a fire extinguisher on board, and must have an appropriate sound signaling device such as a horn or athletic whistle.
They are also subject to USCG manufacturing and load capacity standards, which may be found on the capacity plate and in the owners manual.
They must be registered with the state, and must also obey the Nautical Rules of the Road.
Even though PWCs are considered to be boats, there are a few differences that you need to know.
Virtually no PWCs have running lights as all manufacturers recommend that they only be used during daylight. In fact, many states ban the use of PWCs at night.
Many states require that Personal Floatation Devices be worn at all times while on a PWC. Many states also regulate the operation of personal watercraft within their borders by prohibiting them from specified lakes and boating areas, or by placing geographic or time restrictions on their use.
Some states require an adult to be on board when a minor is operating the craft, or may require completion of a boating safety course before a minor can legally operate a PWC.
States may also regulate speed limits, noise limits, hours of operation, and distance from other boats or objects that you may operate your PWC.