Personal Watercraft Operation and Regulations

A personal watercraft (PWC) is defined as a type of motorboat which is specifically designed to be operated by a person or persons sitting, standing, or kneeling ON the vessel rather than INSIDE the vessel. The term PWC includes jet skis, wet bikes, etc. Any person being towed by a PWC is considered an occupant of the PWC, and is required to wear a life jacket.

Educational Requirements for Operating a PWC

Required Safety Equipment for Personal Watercraft (PWC)

All equipment requirements for regular motorboats also apply to PWC. In addition to those requirements:

Operation of Your Personal Watercraft

NOTE: Children under 13 are specifically prohibited from operating a PWC unless accompanied on board by a person at least 18 years of age who can lawfully operate the PWC.

All operational rules for regular motorboats also apply to PWC. In addition to those requirements, it is unlawful for any person to:

It is unlawful for any person to:

To learn these “rules of the road”, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department strongly recommends persons of all ages enroll in a Boater Education course. Excellent courses are available from many sources to help hone your boating skills, including online courses, Coast Guard Auxiliary courses, Power Squadron courses, and others. To complete the Mandatory Boater Education course for the State of Texas (required for certain operators as noted below), check our schedule of courses or see more information about online Boater Education Courses available on this website.

Principles of Safe Boating
Nobodys Waterproof.com
Safe Boating Campaign - click to visit the National Safe Boating Council website
  1. Wearing life jackets save lives.
  2. Designate a driver. Sober boating saves lives.
  3. Boater Education saves lives.
  4. Safe boats save lives.

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