Driving or riding a personal watercraft (PWC) is a fun way to enjoy time on the water, but a PWC also comes with its own set of concerns.
Know your PWC
Most PWC don’t have brakes. They require the rider to use thrust from the throttle while turning away from whatever object (swimmer, dock, boat, submerged log) you may be heading towards. This is important to think about because it is as counter-intuitive. For that reason, it is best to ride slow until you are comfortable.
Wear Proper Safety Gear
Part of the thrill of piloting a PWC is that “here we go” sensation. But responsible riding requires that you make sure you are protected while having fun. That means wearing a proper-fitting lifejacket. Eye protection is suggested as well. Snug fitting, wrap around sunglasses can prevent water or debris from entering the eye.
Know The Rules of the Road
A person must have taken a boating education course to operate a PWC on Nevada waters. These are powerful, fast moving watercraft that have proven very dangerous in the hands of an inexperienced and uninformed driver. You wouldn’t put an inexperienced driver on a powerful street bike and put them on the freeway. That would be extremely dangerous. Well, the same goes for a PWC. In the hands of a knowledgeable driver they are a great way to spend the day on the way. In the hands of an unprepared or reckless driver, they are a great way to wind up in the hospital, or worse.
An important rule to remember is that a PWC never has the right of way. Boats under power give way to sailboats and paddlers like canoes and kayaks. And the shorter and more maneuverable the powerboat, the lower on the pecking order you are. In other words, PWC riders always have to give way to other boats.
Boaters need to remember that booze and boating DO NOT mix. Alcohol impairs your ability to operate a vessel safely in the same way that it impairs your ability to drive a car safely. Did you know that alcohol is the leading contributing factor in all boating accidents? Learn more.
A PWC is a Boat
Personal watercraft are classified as boats and must adhere to the same rules and regulations as other vessels. Please reference NRS 488.580 Operation of personal watercraft for detailed information.
A “personal watercraft” means a class A motorboat which:
- Is less than 13 feet in length;
- Is designed to be operated by a person sitting, standing or kneeling on, rather than in, the motorboat;
- Is capable of performing sharp turns or quick maneuvers; and
- Has a motor that exceeds 10 horsepower.