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Personal Watercraft

PWC'S and the Environment


  1. Refuel on land to reduce any chances of spilling oil or gas into the water.
  2. Slow down when filling the tank, don't over-fill, catch any accidental spills with an absorbent pad, and dispose of it properly.
  3. Check and clean your engine well away from shorelines. Water and oil don't mix and can harm the water's delicate micro-organisms as well as the animals who feed on them, potentially upsetting the entire food chain.


  1. In shallow waters, boats may stir up the bottom, suspending sediments which limit light penetration and depleting oxygen. This can affect fish and bird feeding. To avoid this effect, ride in main channels, and limit riding in shallow water.
  2. When it is necessary to ride in shallow water, keep watercraft at an idle speed. In coastal areas be aware of low tide. The waters may be substantially more shallow at these times revealing sea grass beds and other delicate vegetation.


Even though PWCs don't have an exposed propeller, you must take caution if you operate near shore.
Vegetation such as sea grasses are delicate nursery grounds where many of the fish in our waters originate.
Weeds, grasses and other plant life are not good for your PWC. Ingestion of these into your craft may cause engine or pump problems, and reduce performance. Stay Away!

When possible, operate well away from shore because, typically, wildlife inhabit the vegetation along the shore's edge. The least amount of disturbance is in the marked channels or the deeper areas of a lake or river. If at all possible, stay in main channels.

Excessive boat wakes may contribute to shoreline erosion, especially in narrow streams and inlets. Erosion is a concern for all shorelines including rivers, lakes, and oceans.

The slow destruction of shorelines affects the habitats of plants and animals. Near the shore avoid high speeds which create wakes and observe posted no wake zones.


Be aware that the noise and movements of boats may disturb bird populations. Steer clear of posted bird nesting areas.

Many migratory birds are easily stressed and especially vulnerable during their migration period. Birds will typically fly away from disturbing noises and any unnecessary expenditure of energy can harm a feeding or resting bird.
Bird rookeries are especially vulnerable to noise from boats, including personal watercraft. Nesting birds may fly from the nest exposing unprotected eggs and hatchlings to the sun's heat or predators.

Wildlife Harassment

Do not harass wildlife by chasing or interrupting feeding, nesting, or resting. Harassment is defined as any action that may cause an animal to deviate from its normal behavior. It is illegal and can unduly stress wildlife.
Mammals such as sea otters, sea lions, manatees and whales can be injured from direct impact by boats traveling at high speeds. Ride at controlled speeds so you can see any animals ahead of you. Avoid area of high animal population. If you hit an animal report it to your local wildlife commission. There may be a chance to save its life.