Jetski (PWC) Regulations & Restrictions by country:

Maritime authorities throughout the Mediterranean have become more stringent with PW use. There have been a number of reported instances where PW’s drivers using PW’s belonging to the yacht, have been party to a random check and heavily fined when unable to provide an appropriate licence.

 

It is important that Captains / Officers are aware of local byelaws and regulations, and clearly inform the Owners, guests and crew who are using the PW’s.

 

The Royal Yachting Association (RYA) offers both the one-day RYA Personal Watercraft Certificate at various RYA Training Centres, as well as the provision for Yachts to become an RYA Training Centre, offering the PW Safety Certificates onboard to guests or crew after appropriate training.

 

This is an overview of the regulations in place for various Mediterranean countries. This information changes from time to time – so please ensure you check the latest information with the local authorities.

Disclaimer: The information here is offered only is guidance, no guarantees are offered for the accuracy of content. Vessels entering areas should investigate rules, regulations and laws prior to arrival. Some of this content is courtesy of the PYA (Professional Yachtsmen Association), Burgess Yachts and local authority websites. 

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Belgium:

5 knot speed limit in Port areas, 500m restricted area from beaches and shore-lines. 


Canary Islands:

Licence required: Yes

Age: 18+


Caribbean:

Antigua: 

PWC use is only allowed in authorised areas:

  • North side of Falmouth Harbour - by the mangroves but not near the marinas
  • West side of Antigua from Carlysle bay to Dickenson Bay and Nonsuch bay

There are currently no regulations regarding training or licencing. 

 

Anguilla:

PWCs are banned

 

Bahamas: 

Buoyancy aids must be worn. 

PWC not to be within 200 ft from any shore and 100ft from any divers down flag. 

Boarding and disembarking ashore must only occurs in designated areas (Port Controller). 

Wake and wave jumping is prohibited. 

Keep an adequate distance from anchored vessels. 

 

Barbados:

Age: 16+

Restricted to locally registered craft. If pre-planned you are able to locally register the Yachts PWCs which would then allow their legal use in Barbadian waters. Alternatively, local operators can hire out PWCs to your vessel on a temporary basis. 

PWC not to be within 200m from any shore. 

 

BVI's:

PWCs are banned

 

Dominican Republic:

Designated areas only.

 

Grenada: 

PWCs are banned

 

Saint Lucia:

Stay 150m from shorelines and moored boats. No use inside Ports other than for transit purposes.

PWC use is permitted in the areas surrounding large hotel locations: Rodney bay, Choc bay, Marigot bay and Castries.

Restrictions around Marine Park areas (i.e. Soufriere)

 

St. Barths:

PWCs may only be used over 350m from any beach/shore

 

St. Maarten: 

All harbours, bays, inland waters are closed to PWC when there is a warship, large yacht, passenger/cruise ship at anchor or moored in the area.

PWCs are prohibited in:

  • Waters off the Eastern seaboard of St Maarten; including Oyster pond, Mullet pond, Flamingo pond, Man o War Shoal Marine Park. 

 

St Vincent & Grenadines:

PWCs are prohibited

 

US Virgin Islands: 

PWC are banned from all National Parks of St John and surrounding areas. Permitted in St Thomas outside of National Parks. 


Croatia:

Licence required: Yes

Age: 18+

The users must wear a buoyancy aid. Registration and insurance papers of the PW must be available. The PW driver and any passenger must be recorded onto a users list.

PWs are prohibited in National Parks. The PW driver must keep a distance of 300 meters from the shore. There is no speed limit outside of 300 meters. Idle speed must be maintained within 300m of shore. 

Each PW must have a ‘VIGNETA’ (Croatian Permit). This will cost approximately 50 Euros for the permit and a further 50 Euros for local insurances.


Denmark:

Licence required: N/A

Age: N/A

Due to environmental protection, Scandinavian legislation is very strict on water sports involving PWs. According to official Danish legislation, PWs are prohibited within Danish sea territory.


Dubai:

Licence required: ?

Age: 16 + 

 

300m buffer zone around Dubai Marina, Umm Suqeim 1 and 2 and Jumeirah 2 and 3 to keep PWC out of swim zones. 

Operation within daylight hours only. 

Buoyancy aids to be worn at all times. 


Eygpt:

Licence required: No

Age: ?

The tender should carry registration and insurance details, but a licence is not required by the tender driver. No formal legislation is in place for use of PWs.


Fiji

Licence required: Yes

Age: 18+ (16+ if accompanied by an 18+)

 

The users must wear a buoyancy aid. Registration and insurance papers for the PWC must be available. 

(Legislation introduced through the Maritime decree 2013.) 


France:

Licence required: Yes

Age: 16+

The PW driver must keep a distance of 300 meters from the shore. The PW can only be used in daylight and not after 20:00

The PW must have "tender to..." written on it and can only be used in sight of the “Yacht”

The users must wear a 50N buoyancy aid with a water activated light with a battery life of a minimum of 6 hours. (regulation issued in 2012)

Carry: 1 towing device, Anchor, 1 x scoop/bucket/hand pump. 1 x watch. 

A water activated light must be fitted to each PFD (day or night) with a battery life of minimum 6 hours. 

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Gibraltar:

Licence required: Yes

Age: 18+

The PW driver must keep a distance 150 meters from shore, and a maximum speed limit of 5 knots within the port area.

PWCs must not be over 200hp and must not exceed 6m in length


Greece:

Licence required: Yes

Age: 16+

The PW driver must keep a distance of 300 meters from the shore and not exceed 3 knots within the port, until reaching the 300 meter border. PW’s cannot be used between 1330 – 1800 hrs, in built up areas. Use of PW’s not recommended around the island of Paros


Holland:

Licence required: Yes

Restricted to certain areas - marked by yellow buoys or signs stating E.22 or A.19. The speedlimit is 20km/h unless specified. By law you must have a licence, carry a first extinguisher, paddle (sit-downs), registration papers and wear a buoyancy aid. Your craft must have its identification (hull ID or T/T) clearly marked.

There is mis-matched information depending on the area as to whether you need to register the PWC and about carrying sections of "Bootalmanch" (local charts & regulations).

Brielse Maas, Haringvliet, Oosterschelde and Westerschelde are open to PWC use. PWC use is banned in areas like Grevelingermeer. 


Israel:

Licence required: Yes

If the PW is registered in Israel, then the PW driver must have a licence (issued by the IMOT)+ insurance + to comply with local ministry of transport requirements.

The PW driver is required to keep a distance of 300meters from the shore.

It is advisable to coordinate any PW use with the local authorities / Navy / customs.


Italy:

Licence required: Yes (only licences issued by a European Country are accepted by the Italian Coastguard)

Age: 18+

  • A distance of no less than 500 metres / 1 mile must be kept from any shore
  • Strictly no PW use is permitted near ferry routes, near the coast or beaches, near military bases, at the mouth of rivers, canals, and in the bathing prohibited areas, or in the reserves and other protected areas.
  • In some areas there are further restrictons on the use of PWs, it is recommended to contact the Local harbour office or Guardia Costiera. 
  • Use in designated areas only
  • A distance of 300 metres must be kept from military, merchant & fishing vessels. 200 metres from buoys that could indicate diving or fishing
  • No use within 1 mile of a port entrance
  • All riders must have safety equipment onboard, wear a helmet and a buoyancy aid.

Naples maritime district

  • 1st November - 30th June - PWC use allowed during day time hours
  • 1st July - 30th September - PWC use only allowed between 14:00 - 19:00 
  • 1st July - September - PWCs are NOT allowed between Mergellina to Capo Posillipo

Capri & Amalfi Coast

  • 1st October - 30th June - PWC use is allowed during daylight hours
  • 1st July - 30th September - PWC use is only allowed between 14:00 - 19:00
  • PWC use near the Blue Grotto or Faraglioni is banned

Ischia

  • PWC are banned

Protected marine areas (forbidden areas):

  • Cinque Terre, Arcipelago Toscano, Isole Tremiti, Miramare, Arcipelago di La Maddalena, Isole Egadi, Isole di Ustica, Porto Cesareo, Ventatene e Santo Stefano.

Malta:

Licence required: Yes

The PW and tender driver is required to hold a licence recognised by the Malta Maritime Authority, and covered by a policy of insurance with a third party.

The PW driver must not exceed 10 knots whilst in a harbour, and keep a distance of 300 meters from the shore.

This applies to driving craft with engines greater than those described below:

1. Two Stroke inboard or outboard petrol engines of greater than 750cc

2. Four stroke petrol outboard greater than 1000cc

3. Four Stroke petrol inboard greater than 1300cc

4. Diesel Engines greater than 2000cc

5. ALL Engines of greater than 40.8 horsepower (30kw)

At present PW’s regulations are according to flag state.


Montenegro:

Licence required: Yes

Age: 18+

  • All riders must have safety equipment onboard, wear a helmet, killcord and a buoyancy aid.
  • Any tenders and jetskis that are used have to be issued a Vignette. A Vignette can only be issued to tenders/jetskis that have an individual certificate of registry and/or are listed in the yacht inventory list with full details and are covered by third party liability insurance which includes Montenegro (worldwide/Med/Adriatic coverage). Tenders listed as 'safety equipment' cannot be issued a Vignette. 
  • The PW driver is required to hold a PW licence, and any “minor” (under 18) must be accompanied by an adult possessing a PW licence. In addition, must wear a helmet, buoyancy aid and wear a kill cord / key wrist band or similar.
  • Use of PWs anywhere near the coast or beaches is penalised since most accidents last year were caused by PWs driven too close to the beaches - must keep a distance of 300 meters from the shore. PW regulations in Montenegro are very strict.

Portugal:

Licence required: Yes

Age: 16+ ?? (TBC)

  • Operation during daylight hours only
  • Maximum 1 mile out to sea

Spain:

Licence required: Yes

Age: 18+ (16yr olds require written consent from a parent/guardian)

Legal requirements: 

  • Registration to a Maritime Authority (or T/T mother vessel) is compulsory
  • Public liability insurance
  • Rider licence
  • Licence, registration, insurance documents and updated payments must be kept onboard at all times. 
  • Each individual must carry government issued ID with them at all times
  • Rider and passenger must wear certified buoyancy aids at all times
  • The number of persons onboard must not exceed the maximum stated by the manufacturer

Navigation rules:

  • Do not use private PWCs near PWC rental areas or regatta areas. 
  • Keep a safe distance from swim zones (normally marked with yellow buoys, where there are no marker buoys, keep 200m from shore)
  • If entering an unmarked swim zone is absolutely necessary, enter at a speed under 3 knots and follow a path perpendicular to the shore
  • Only use in day light hours, good weather and visibility. 
  • Towing of water toys is prohibited.
  • It is forbidden to navigate in commercial ports / marinas, except to go directly out to sea. A maximum speed of 3 knots for transit applies.

Safety recommendations: 

  • Keep a 50m distance from other craft, buoys etc
  • Don't ride alone or under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Avoid use in channels, anchorages or areas with a high concentration of vessels. 

 

Most Spanish coastal locations have a 300m rule from any coastline and 150m from any other vessel.

Balearic Islands (Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza)

In addition to the generic Spanish regulations above, the Balearic islands have some additional byelaws: 

  • You must stay 200m offshore and 100m from any other vessel before exceeding 5 knots
  • A method of communication must be carried at all times (i.e. mobile phone / VHF)
  • Waterskiing / Wakeboarding are only allowed if a second person is sitting facing the person being towed
  • No beach drop off/pick ups

Turkey:

The PW driver is not required to hold a PW licence and no age restriction apply but must wear a buoyancy aid.

The PW must not be used in restricted areas and cannot depart from the marina or harbour. The PW driver is required to keep a distance of 300 meters from the shore. When leaving/approaching the coast (within 300m) the maximum speed is 3 knots. 

PWC is prohibited in the following areas: 

  • Gocek Gulf (National Park)
  • Aksas Area in Marrmaris (Military area)
  • Dead sea in Fethiye
  • Kekova (sunken city in the area)

U.S.A.

Florida:

Restricted areas:

PWCs are not allowed within three National Refuge Areas of the Lower Keys:  Key Deer National Refuge, Great White Heron National Refuge, and the Key West Refuge. It is legal to operate PWCs along the shoreline parallel to U. S. Highway One (“Overseas Highway”), for the purpose of allowing “transportation” from one point to the next. United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFW) regulates these areas - find more information on page 20 & 21  of this leaflet


General Rules:

  • Each person operating, riding on, or being towed behind a personal watercraft must wear an approved non-inflatable Type I, II, III, or V personal flotation device. Inflatable personal flotation devices are prohibited.
     
  • The operator of a personal watercraft must attach the engine cutoff switch lanyard (if equipped by the manufacturer) to his/her person, clothing, or PFD. 
  • Personal watercraft may not be operated from 1/2 hour after sunset to 1/2 hour before sunrise.
     
  • Maneuvering a personal watercraft by weaving through congested vessel traffic, jumping the wake of another vessel unreasonably close or when visibility around the vessel is obstructed, or swerving at the last possible moment to avoid collision is classified as reckless operation of a vessel (a first-degree misdemeanor).
     
  • Each person operating or riding on a personal watercraft must wear an approved Type I, II, III, or V personal floatation device. Inflatable personal floatation devices are prohibited. The operator of a personal watercraft must attach the engine cutoff switch lanyard (if equipped by the manufacturer) to his/her person, clothing, or PFD.
     
  • Maneuvering a personal watercraft by weaving through congested vessel traffic, jumping the wake of another vessel unreasonably close, or when visibility around the vessel is obstructed, or swerving at the last possible moment to avoid collision is classified as reckless operation of a vessel (a first-degree misdemeanor).

Licencing:

Anyone under the age of 22 (21 and under) is required to have a boating safety education ID card along with a photo ID while operating a PWC in Florida waters. Persons under age 14 may not operate a PWC. 

A person is exempt from this requirement if there is a person on board who is not affected by this law or is at least 18 years of age and holds a boater education ID card.

Harbour Town / Hilton head:

Operation outside of 'no wake zones' only. 


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