Boating regulations for personal watercraft include:
Anyone 14 years old but younger than 26 can operate a personal watercraft if:
- they have successfully completed an approved boating safety education course (proof of age and safety course completion must be carried during boat operation)
- they are riding with a person who is at least 18 and is in compliance with the Boating Education Requirement Law
It is unlawful for the owner of a personal watercraft to knowingly allow a person younger than 16 to operate a craft unless they have first completed an approved boating safety education course.
Hours of Operation
No one can operate a personal watercraft on state waters between sunset and sunrise.
All personal watercraft riders, passengers and those being towed must wear approved personal flotation devices.
If the personal watercraft is equipped with a lanyard-type engine cut off switch, the lanyard must be worn by the operator at all times.
A personal watercraft must have an observer on board besides the operator to legally tow someone on skis or similar device.
No person shall operate a personal watercraft on North Carolina waters at greater than no-wake speed within 100 feet of an anchored or moored vessel, a dock, pier, swim float, marked swimming area, swimmers, surfers, persons engaged in angling, or any manually operated propelled vessel, unless the personal watercraft is operating in a narrow channel.
No person shall operate a personal watercraft in a narrow channel at greater than no-wake speed within 50 feet of an anchored or moored vessel, a dock, pier, swim float, marked swimming area, swimmers, surfers, persons engaged in angling, or any manually operated propelled vessel.
No person shall operate a personal watercraft towing another person on water skis or similar device unless the total number of persons operating, observing, and being towed does not exceed the number of passengers identified by the manufacturer as the maximum safe load for the vessel.
Reckless Operation Includes:
Unreasonable or unnecessary weaving through congested boat traffic.
Jumping the wake of a vessel within 100 feet of the vessel or when visibility is obstructed.
Intentionally approaching a vessel in order to swerve at the last moment.
No one shall rent a personal watercraft to someone under 16 unless that person meets the conditions in the section "Who Can Operate a PWC?"
A minimum of $300,000 insurance must be carried on each personal watercraft that is rented to the public.
A "narrow channel means a segment of water 300 feet or less in width.
Following too Closely
The term "following too closely" means proceeding in the same direction and operating at a speed in excess of 10 miles per hour when approaching within 100 feet to the rear or 50 feet to the side of another vessel that is underway unless that vessel is operating in a narrow channel, in which case a personal watercraft may operate at the speed and flow of other vessel traffic.
Source: State of North Carolina