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Personal Watercraft Laws

 In summary, the law requires that:

Anyone operating or riding on a personal watercraft must wear a U.S. Coast Guard approved Type I, II, III or V personal flotation device (PFD or life jacket).

Personal watercraft must travel at slow - no wake speed (5mph or less) within 150 feet of non-motorized boats, shore (unless launching or landing skiers directly to or from open water), docks, swim rafts, swimmers, or any moored or anchored boat.

Operation of personal watercraft is allowed only from 9:30am to 1 hour before sunset.

If you tow a person on water skis, or any other device, there must be an additional person on board the personal watercraft to act as an observer. (The observer does not have to be facing backward.) The skier/kneeboarder etc. must also be wearing a PFD or there must be one on board the personal watercraft for the skier.
Factory-installed or factory-specified wide-field rearview mirrors are allowed instead of an observer when pulling a skier or other device (tube, kneeboard, etc.). The mirrors must be specified by the personal watercraft manufacturer. After-market mirrors, stick-on mirrors, motorcycle mirrors etc., do not qualify for the observer exemption.

If the machine is equipped by the manufacturer with a lanyard-type engine cutoff switch, it must be attached to the person, life jacket or clothing of the operator when underway.

You may not operate a personal watercraft if any part of the spring-loaded throttle system has been removed or tampered with so it interferes with the return-to-idle system.

You may not chase or harass wildlife.

You may not travel through emergent or floating vegetation at greater than slow - no wake speed.

You may not operate a personal watercraft in a manner that unreasonably or unnecessarily endangers life, limb or property.

You may not weave through congested watercraft traffic, or jump the wake of another watercraft within 150 feet of the other watercraft. This includes other personal watercraft.

A personal watercraft rules decal issued by DNR needs to be on the craft in full view of the operator.

You may not operate a personal watercraft while facing backward.

It is unlawful for the owner of the personal watercraft to permit its operation in violation of the age restrictions.