Personal Safety
Anatomy of
Legal Requirements
Operating A PWC
Navigational Rules
Accident Prevention & Rescue
PWC Exam

& Links














Take Note

Wind, ocean swells or moving water can rapidly separate you from your PWC if you fall off of it. It is important to be aware of this possibility and to be constantly aware of weather and water conditions.











Power must be maintained to steer a PWC. If power is not maintained, the PWC will continue in the original direction even if the operator turns the handle bars. Without power, the operator will lose steering control of the PWC. This is a common cause of PWC accidents. Therefore, it is important to be alert and always be prepared to steer away from a person, vessel, or object.




You will learn:

The anatomy of PWC

The legal requirements for operating PWC

PWC operating guidelines

PWC and personal safety

Navigational rules and aids

Accident prevention and rescue

Other important features of operating a PWC

Anatomy of a PWC

Personal watercraft, or PWC, are small jet-drive propelled powerboats. The pumps draw water into the housing, with an impeller, which pressurizes the water and forces it through the steerable nozzle, pushing the boat forward. (See jet pump diagram on below)

PWC exist in three main styles: stand-up, sit-down sport class (one or two people), and sit-down three or four-person. The stand-up style carries only one person who stands while operating the vessel, while the sit-down styles have seats for one to four people.

The main components of a PWC are the:

Hull - the body of the boat.

Deck - flat surfaces such as the seat, foot wells, and compartment covers.

Throttle - mounted on the handle bars, regulates the amount of fuel delivered to the engine and controls the speed.

Steering nozzle - located at the rear of the vessel and controlled by the handlebars.

Water in-take - located on the underside of the hull, this is where the impeller pulls water into the vessel.

Other controls include the start and stop switches and the cutoff or "kill" switch with attached lanyard.

When the steering handlebars of the PWC are turned to the right, the steering nozzle also turns to the right. The stream of water pushes the back of the boat to the left, causing the PWC to turn right. It is important to note that the PWC loses steering ability if it loses power or the stream of water for any reason.

Safety Mechanisms

Most PWC are equipped with a cut-off switch that must be attached to the operator by a lanyard. If the rider falls off, the lanyard is pulled and the cutoff switch engages to shut down the engine. The PWC engine will stop, and the watercraft will glide to a stop nearby.

Other PWC have an automatic idle and self-circling device. If the rider falls off, the PWC will circle slowly in the area until the rider can safely reboard.