Personal Watercraft

Requirements Specific to Personal Watercraft (PWCs)

In addition to adhering to all RI boating laws, personal watercraft (PWC) operators have requirements specific to their vessel.

  • Each person riding on a Personal Watercraft (PWC) must wear a U.S. Coast Guard approved Type I, II, III, or V personal flotation device (life jacket).
  • If the PWC is equipped with a lanyard-type ignition safety switch, the lanyard must be attached to the person, clothing, or life jacket of the operator.
  • PWCs may not be operated between one-half hour after sunset and one-half hour before sunrise.
  • PWCs must be operated in a reasonable and prudent manner at all times. For example, it is illegal to:
  • Jump the wake of another vessel unnecessarily close to the other vessel.
  • Weave your PWC through congested traffic.
  • Swerve at the last moment to avoid collision.
  • Anyone operating a PWC, regardless of age, must have passed an approved boater education course. It is illegal for the owner of a PWC to knowingly permit operation of his or her PWC in violation of this law.

Remember… As an owner of a PWC, you may be held responsible if you knowingly allow anyone else to operate your PWC in violation of Rhode Island law.