Virginia Personal Watercraft Regulations

From the "Virginia Watercraft Owner's Guide"
(as of June 1999)

The following provisions of the law apply to operators, owners and users of personal watercraft (PWC):

A personal watercraft is a motorboat less than 16' in length which uses an inboard motor powering a jet pump as its primary motive power and which is designed to be operated by a person sitting, standing or kneeling on, rather than in the conventional manner of sitting or standing inside the vessel.

1. It shall be unlawful for any person to operate a PWC, or the owner or any person having control to authorize or knowingly permit a person to operate a PWC, unless the operator is at least 16 years of age, except any person age fourteen or fifteen may operate a PWC if they have successfully completed an approved boating education safety course, carry proof of successful completion of such course, and show this proof upon request by a law enforcement officer.

2. It is unlawful to operate a personal watercraft unless the operator and each rider is wearing a Type I, II, III, or V - U-S- Coast Guard approved personal flotation device.

3. The operator must attach the lanyard to his person, clothing, or personal flotation device, if the personal watercraft is equipped with a lanyard-type engine cut-off switch.

4. No person shall operate a personal water craft after sunset or before sunrise.

5. No person may operate a personal water craft while carrying passengers in excess of the number for which the craft was designed by the manufacturer.

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