Often considered the motorcycles of the water, personal watercraft are fast and fun to drive. While considered motorized vessels in New York, there are some special regulations surrounding personal watercraft use.
Some municipalities prohibit use of personal watercraft. Many municipalities have additional operating restrictions on personal watercraft use including operating hours and distance from shore.
Lifejacket wear is always required for all operators and passengers of personal watercraft, regardless of age. Your lifejacket must be:
Personal watercraft have different equipment requirements than other types of motorized boats. In addition to wearing your lifejacket, you must carry:
You may encounter some new and unusual types of specialty watercraft, such as motorized surfboards and paddleboards, personal submarines, Jetpaks, Jetlevs, Flyboards, and Jetovators. These are powered by waterjet propulsion, so are subject to the same regulations as personal watercraft.
Before you pack your bags and head out to sea, be certain to share your plans with a reliable and trusted person who will remain on land. The details of your voyage are often referred to as a a float plan.
In your float plan, include where you are planning to go, who is going on the trip, vessel information, when you plan to depart and return, and who to contact in an emergency. Be sure your emergency contact knows where to find the details of your float plan. If you do not return when anticipated, your reliable, land loving person can notify emergency personnel.
A float plan can be as simple as a text message or more complex for extended trips. Consider using a template, such as this one, to make sure all the important information is recorded.
You can search for a boat launch site at https://parks.ny.gov/boating/launch-sites.aspx
You can also download the FREE Parks Explorer App to find information about State Parks with marinas and boat launches https://parks.ny.gov/explorer-app/
You can prevent many accidents if you communicate with your passengers. Before you allow passengers on your boat, explain your rules. Before you cast off, show them where you keep your safety equipment, and make sure they know how to use it. Find out if any of your passengers have any knowledge of first aid procedures. Well informed and well-behaved passengers help ensure a safe voyage. Most accidents can be prevented by following good boating safety practices.
If you are involved in a boating accident, you are required to report it to New York State Parks within 5 days if the accident resulted in: