2018 New York State Boater's Guide - 61
device as well as the rules of the road for the waterway. When
you're ready to go it alone, try the device out in an area that's
free of traffic, obstructions and sensitive wildlife.
One of the first things we should understand about the
PWC is that, unlike a conventional boat, which has a
propeller and rudder to drive itself through the
water, the PWC employs a jet pump and
nozzle for propulsion and direction. The
speed with which the water is pushed
through the nozzle is controlled
much the same way speed is regulated on a motorcycle, by throttle
controls located on the handlebars.
It is very important that PWC operators understand that once the throttle is
released, they no longer have directional control of the vessel,
since water is no longer being pushed through the directional
nozzle. The device will continue on its present course, and
since there are no brakes, it won't be able to immediately stop.
Although PWC are relatively stable at slow speeds, they are
relatively light and can easily flip and become airborne. As the
craft has a low profile, it is also somewhat difficult to be seen by
larger boats on the water. To help with visibility, operators should
wear bright orange or similarly colored life jackets in order to be
better seen. Although PWCs can operate in very shallow water,
operators should be mindful of adjacent property owners, as
well as environmentally sensitive areas, not to mention docks
and other hazards associated with close-in vessel operation.
Remember, speed is limited to 5 miles per hour within 100 feet
of shore, dock, raft or anchored boats. In the interest of safety,
never operate your PWC in congested areas, transit the area and
proceed to where there is sufficient space to operate your vessel. Stay clear of other boats on the water and give fellow PWC
operators a safety buffer in order to avoid potential collisions.
Remember not to wear out your welcome in any one particular
area on the water, avoid use conflict with others recreating on
the water particularly in the area of boat ramps, marinas and
channels. Refrain from buzzing your neighbors, it's just annoying
and not much appreciated. PWC can be great fun provided they
are operated responsibly.