In Pennsylvania, anyone using a personal watercraft must be at least 12 years old. The following procedures are extremely dangerous and prohibited: Anyone born before 1 July 1996 may operate a boat legally and without restrictions. Vessel owners must have a Temporary Vessel Registration Certificate for at least 60 days before they can operate in state waters. After obtaining the Certificate of Registration of a vessel, please note the following: Persons born on or after July 1, 1996 may not legally operate a motorboat with more than 6 horsepower unless they have received a Boating Safety Certificate and it is in their possession. From November 1 to April 30 of the following year, at midnight, individuals must wear a Coast Guard-approved PFD when navigating or anchoring on boats less than 16 feet in length or a canoe or kayak. Persons under the age of 14 are not legally permitted to operate personal watercraft (e.g. jet ski, wave runner). The operator of a motorboat involved in an accident resulting in bodily injury, death or property damage (over $500) must immediately notify the MA Environmental Police and submit the relevant accident report within the required time frame. (2 days – death; 5 days – all other accidents) Also note that the owner of the boat must obtain his boat title before he can obtain his certificate of registration of the boat.
This requirement applies: “Zero tolerance” prohibits persons under the age of 21 from consuming alcohol and navigating on a vessel with an alcohol content greater than 0.02%. Youth aged 14 and 15 are legally permitted to operate a personal watercraft if they have obtained a boating safety certificate and are teenagers between the ages of 12 and 15, must take an approved basic course to operate a motorboat without adult supervision. Upon successful completion of such a course, students receive a “boating safety certificate” from the government, which must be in the possession of the certified operator during the trip. Boat users aged 16 or 17 must also take such a boat course. Young people under the age of 16 are not allowed to drive boats. Ships duly registered in another state do not need to be registered in Pennsylvania until they operate in Pennsylvania waters for more than 60 consecutive days. A certificate of ownership is a legal document that proves ownership. All boaters or passengers 12 years of age and under on a vessel less than 20 feet in length, as well as canoes and kayaks of any length, must carry an approved PFD while cruising. Persons under 12 years of age may only operate a motorboat if accompanied on board and directly supervised by a competent person aged 18 or over. All PWC users must be at least 16 years of age to be in service. This is just a summary of the boat laws.
All boaters must be aware of and comply with all local, state, and federal laws. For more information on boat laws, boat education, or accident report forms, contact the Massachusetts Environmental Police at (508) 564-4961 To obtain a boat title, the boat owner must contact the CBFP. The title fee is $15 and an additional fee of $5 may apply if there is a lien on the boat. The fee for a double title is $5. Don`t underestimate personal watercraft – they are very powerful due to their small size and require the same respect as any boat. In fact, PWC operations must comply with the same rules and regulations as any other powerboat – including state registration and a B-1 class fire extinguisher on board. All vessels propelled by machinery, including gasoline, diesel and electric engines, and operating primarily in Pennsylvania waters must be registered by the CBFP and receive a Pennsylvania Vessel Registration Card. Documented pleasure craft such as yachts must be registered as well as sailboats that use gasoline, diesel or electric engines as auxiliary power. Non-motorized vessels do not need to be registered – unless they are launched in lakes and Commission access areas or Pennsylvania State Parks or if required by the owner (e.g., U.S. Army Corps of Engineers). Boaters with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or higher are suspected of operating under the influence of alcohol (BUI).
Boating under the influence of alcohol is a serious offense in the state of Pennsylvania and is punishable by up to two years in prison, loss of boating privileges for one year, and/or fines of up to $7,500.