PWC Safety Regulations - Hawaii

The state of Hawaii requires all personal watercraft operators to be certified in the safe use and operation of the craft. The Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Boating and Ocean Recreations has developed two safety courses. One for the basic use of PWC is a one day course,and the other is for tow-in surfing certification a two-day course.

No person can operate a PWC or “thrill craft” within a marine life conservation district or marine natural area reserve as well as between December 15 and May 15 each year in certain areas. There are several areas and shorelines which it is against the law to operate a PWC at all. It is the responsibility of the operator to find out the areas and to follow these regulations.

If the PWC is being used as a diving platform and it is during times of low lights or low visibility, the crafts must have navigation lights as with any vessel and as stated by the USCG.

Visitors and tourists can rent a craft from a commercial vendor to ride in the commercial PWC zones. They must attend a five-minute safety demonstration conducted by the vendor. These rented PWCs can only be ridden in a commercial thrillcraft zone – which is a 200-foot radius circle – known as an Ocean Recreation Management Area.

Operators must be 15 years of age or older to operate a PWC in Hawaii.

During periods of limited visibility and between the hours of sundown and sunrise, PWCs must have visual distress signals and navigational lights.

It is recommended to have a VHF Radio or EPIRB if operating a PWC a mile or more from shore.

Be responsible by being educated and knowing the rules and regulations for Hawaii before going out on the water. The USCG and your PWC insurance company will expect you to comply with these rules.