A Course for Safe Boating
PWC Rules of the Road
Follow the basic rules of the road except when you need to depart from them
to avoid a collision.
Avoid ship channels when possible. Cross ship channels quickly when you
can’t avoid them.
Always watch and listen for all boat traffic.
Know that five or more short sound blasts mean danger or emergency.
Know the charts for the waterways in which you operate your PWC. Know
the likely hazards and high traffic areas.
Keep a wide distance between your PWC and other boats or persons in
Do not make sharp or wild turns.
Do not operate your PWC in shallow water, because the intake will pick up
debris and clog the pump.
Be aware of other boat traffic and your skill level as an operator at all times.
the weather and water conditions before going out.
Do not carry more passengers than your PWC can safely hold. (Check the
Drink water or soft drinks, not alcohol.
Prevent fire and environmental damage by refueling correctly.
Operators of PWC who perform the following dangerous moves are breaking
the California boating law and can be cited for reckless or negligent operation.
Beyond breaking the law, these dangerous moves can result in serious injury
or death to the operator, any passengers or others on the water.
Tag and turn—this involves sharp and wild turns close to each other.
Overtaking another vessel closely at high speeds.
Wake jumping within 100 feet of another vessel.
Following other boats too closely—leave a safe distance to allow time to
maneuver and avoid a collision.
If you are involved in a boating
accident causing more than $500 in
damage, or the loss of a vessel, you
must report it to the DBW within
A formal report of a death or a
missing person must be filed with the
DBW within 48 hours.
Also, if an injury requires more than
first aid, you must file a formal report
with the department within 48 hours.