Laws for Jet Skis

Laws for Jet SkisJet ski laws have been passed in many different states, including Florida, Alabama and New Jersey. The purpose of the laws is to keep everyone safe on the water. Before you take a jet ski or wave runner out for a spin, make sure you know the pertinent laws.

Admiralty Law

Admiralty law refers to the law that covers the connection between vehicle owners and those operating a vehicle on the water. The law essentially states that the person who owns the vehicle is responsible for anything that happens, even if the owner is not on the boat or vehicle. It applies to rental companies as well. If you own a jet ski and let someone else drive it, you are responsible for his or her actions while on it.



Anyone who drives a jet ski must have a license to operate the vehicle--unless he is renting the vehicle. Jet ski drivers must pass a license test or sit through a course on watercraft safety. If you're a renter, you will have to take an approved safety course before boarding the jet ski or wave runner. As of 2009, a license is required in New Jersey, but other states, such as Florida, only require a safety lesson.


Florida requires anyone who drives a jet ski to be at least age 14; to rent a jet ski, you must be 18 years old. In Michigan, the age is also set at 14 for drivers and 18 for renters. In New Jersey, the age requirement is 16. New Jersey requires those who take the license test to be at least 16. If you are under 16, you can be fined $500 for driving a jet ski.


Florida requires that everyone on a personal watercraft or boat wear a flotation device that's not inflatable. That includes riders, those being towed and the driver. You are also required to use a lanyard that connects to the emergency shut-off, as a way of turning off the engine if the driver becomes incapacitated.

Article Written By Jennifer Eblin

Jennifer Eblin has been a full-time freelance writer since 2006. Her work has appeared on several websites, including Tool Box Tales and Zonder. Eblin received a master's degree in historic preservation from the Savannah College of Art and Design.

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