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Personal Watercraft

PWC Etiquette

With the rapid rise in the number of personal water craft, there have been many complaints about their use and misuse. Many people would love to see them outlawed altogether, and there are currently many local jurisdictions that are attempting just that.

With common sense and common courtesy, both PWC users and traditional boaters can coexist and enjoy their time on the water. Following some simple operating procedures can help eliminate the majority of complaints against PWCs.

Noise is probably the number one complaint about PWC use. Though manufacturers are continually developing quieter motor and exhaust systems (PWC motors all operate within legal limits for noise) there are many complaints about noise.

The best way to avoid noise complaints is to follow the Rules of the Road and also to avoid operating at high speed near the shoreline and other boaters. Riding through surf and boat wakes is not only dangerous, but in many states it is illegal to do either.

Don’t operate close to wildlife or aquatic vegetation. Even though PWCs probably have less of an impact on nature than many traditional boats, it is prudent to avoid boating in areas that could be harmful to the environment. Avoiding vegetation and debris will also spare your delicate propulsion machinery from unnecessary damage.

Obey the law! If all PWC users faithfully obeyed the law, there would be far fewer complaints, and consequently far fewer usage restrictions. PWC operators control their own destiny regarding new restrictions.

The PWC industry itself is a leader in responsible use of their products. The Personal Watercraft Industry Association has created a code of ethics for PWC users that really is valuable for all boaters.