PWC Safety Regulations - Minnesota

In the state of Minnesota, children under 13 years old are not permitted to operate a PWC alone, whether there is an adult on board or not.

For those operators 13 years of age, they must have a Watercraft Operator’s Permit and be in constant visual supervision by an adult at least 21 years old. Operators who are 14 to 17 years old, they can operate a PWC alone if they have a Watercraft Operator’s Permit or have someone at least 21 years old riding with them.

A PWC is considered a motor boat and thus the operator shall follow regulations for boats. In Minnesota, the PWC owners/operators are also required to:

Have a rules decal, provided for free by the Department of Natural Resources, in full view. All those operating or riding must have a USCG Type I, II, III, or V life vest on their person. It is required to have a USCG approved fire extinguisher on board in the storage compartment. The operator must move at a slow/no wake speed if within 150 feet of shore, except when launching or landing, the docks, swimmers, rafts, anything moored or anchored.

It is also a requirement to have another person on board to keep watch while towing someone on skis. Wide angled rear view mirrors are allowed to substitute for the person on watch.

The person operating the PWC must have a lanyard attached to the ignition switch and to their person, life jacket, or clothes. And, the PWC can only be ridden between the hours of 9:30 a.m. and sunset. The hours of sunset are pre-determined.

Personal watercraft dealers and those who rent them are required to distribute the laws pertaining to the PWC and instructions on how to use a PWC.

It is imperative to know all the Minnesota state and the federal regulations before you take your PWC in to the water. The USCG and your PWC insurance company will expect you to follow all the state and federal regulations.