Jet Ski

How Old Do You Have To Be To Drive A Jet Ski?

jetski age

You might be interested in knowing the maximum age to drive a Jet Ski before we discuss driving. You’re in luck if you want to take a young family out on a PWC.

There is no set age restriction for using a PWC. Most states allow drivers to carry passengers of any age as long as they are at least 18 years old.

Naturally, that does not imply that you ought to take your 1-year-old on a Jet Ski journey!

Although it is permitted by law, it is advised to avoid taking young children on a PWC for your and your child’s safety. As per the Jet Ski owner’s manual, all passengers on a PWC should be able to reach the footwalls with their feet

For most PWC models, riders must range in height from 32 inches to 3 feet, 6 inches (36 inches). For this reason, most rental companies impose height restrictions on customers.

What is the legal age to drive a jet ski by yourself?

How Old Do You Have To Be To Drive A Jet Ski?  Every state and territory in the US has a different age range for who can operate a jet ski unattended, ranging from 12 to 18. Local laws are in effect even if your youngster has a license from another state.

Therefore, even if it’s allowed in your home state, a 14-year-old cannot operate a PWC while you’re on vacation in a jurisdiction that requires drivers to be 16 or older.

How Old Do You Have to Be to Drive a Jet Ski with an Adult on Board?

Driving a car is different from jet skiing. The laws are not absolute, it’s more like seeing an R-rated movie.


The restrictions differ when an adult is present, but a minor cannot do it alone. When a parent or adult rides with you on a watercraft, most states don’t have any rules or restrictions on your age.

Your child can operate the PWC if you share it with them. However, you will be held accountable if there is an accident or damage.

What is the legal age to operate a Rented Jet Ski?

To operate a Jet Ski rental in Clearwater, you must be at least 16 years old and have legitimate identification.

No state allows anyone under 18 to hire a jet ski unless their parent or legal guardian provides a release.

Local rules governing age restrictions apply, provided parents are present to approve a PWC rental.

Manufacturer’s Recommendations

Manufacturers of jet skis advise against letting youngsters under the age of 16 operate one.

By age 16, most children can fit comfortably in the seat and fully reach the footwells and handlebars, making for a safer ride. Most teenagers have some experience driving other vehicles, such as cars and motorbikes, by the time they are 16 years old.

It depends on the state. However, some allow younger kids to operate jet skis. You are the best person to assess your child’s familiarity with motorized vehicles.

How Old You Have to Be to Drive a Jet Ski Alone—State by State

The laws governing what age a child must be to operate a jet ski are regulated by the individual states. When it comes to boating, each state has its unique laws, and using a jet ski (a personal watercraft) is no exception.

We have divided the states into their distinct regions to make it simpler for you to access the information for How Old Do You Have to Be to Drive a Jet Ski you require.

 The Northeast

 The nation’s boating laws are most easily understood in the Northeast.

 For instance, New York mandates that all drivers must have an adult present unless the youngster obtains a boating license, which they can do after they become 14 years old.

 To operate a jet ski unattended, a driver must be at least 16 years old in the following states:

  •  Connecticut
  • New Jersey
  • Vermont
  • Rhode Island
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire

According to the law, no minors are allowed to operate jet skis in Maine without an adult passenger.

According to Pennsylvania law, minors cannot drive a jet ski alone until they are at least 12 years old or transport anyone under 16.

The South

For our purposes, the region with the widest variety of boating rules is the South.

 While Mississippi and Tennessee have a minimum age of 12, Texas has a PWC driving age of 13. The driver in Tennessee needs to have a current boater’s license. The legal age to drive a Jet Ski operation in Florida is 14.

Children over 16 are permitted to operate personal watercraft (PWC) alone in Maryland, South Carolina, Virginia, Louisiana, Arkansas, Delaware, and Georgia, while younger individuals are permitted to operate a jet ski with an adult in both Delaware (age 14) and Georgia (12 years).

 The North

 Although North Carolina and Alabama have established the minimum age for operating a jet ski at 14, you must first get a boating license to operate a PWC alone in any state.

In Kentucky, the minimum age to operate a jet ski is 18 unless a youngster passes a boating proficiency exam, so the age is lowered to 12.

 The minimum age in West Virginia is 15 unless the youngster takes a boating test, in which case it drops to 12 once again.

Any age may operate a jet ski in Oklahoma as long as they are in the visual range of an adult. The age requirement for riding unsupervised is 18.

 The Midwest

 Some of the nation’s laxest boating regulations are found in the Midwest.

While Illinois permits anybody above 12 to ride alone, South Dakota, Wisconsin, and Wisconsin have no age restrictions on who can operate a jet ski.

In both Michigan and Indiana, the minimum age is 15; however, if you are under 18 in Indiana, you must complete a boating safety course.

 PWCs are allowed in Iowa at any age, but a driver must first have state approval before riding by themselves.

  The West

 The West has the nation’s most straightforward boating legislation, second only to the Northeast. When they become 16 years old, children can operate a jet ski (PWC) alone in the following states:

  • Colorado
  • Wyoming
  • California
  • Oregon

 No age limitations exist on who can operate a jet ski in Alaska and Idaho.

Some counties, however, have established their Jet Ski minimum ages. Unsupervised drivers in Nevada and Washington must be at least 14 years old. In Washington, a boater education card is required.

Drivers in New Mexico and Montana must be at least 13 years old. Drivers in Montana are also required to have a current boating license.

The legal age to operate a jet ski in Arizona is 12.

 Unless they have completed the state boating course and are at least 12 years old, Utah law prohibits anyone under the age of 18 from operating a jet ski alone.

 In Hawaii, a PWC operator must be at least 15 years old.

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