Stay in control when riding a jet ski

Jet skis (also called personal watercraft) are known for their speed and agility, however when operating one, it’s crucial to prioritise safety.

  • Speed and noise: Jet skis travel very fast and can be noisy. Be considerate of people around you, whether they’re in the water, on the beach, or in other boats.
  • Handling in different conditions: Learn how your jet ski handles in different situations, like calm water or rough waves, so you can use it safely.
  • Be considerate: Remember that people driving bigger boats might not know how agile jet skis are. Maintain a proper lookout whenever you are on the water and adjust your riding to avoid surprising them and causing problems.

Important reminders

1. Always have your PWC endorsement with you when you’re using a jet ski registered in Victoria.
2. Marine licenses including those with PWC endorsement are valid for five years.
3. If you’re under 16 and a new applicant, you can’t get a PWC endorsement on your restricted license.

Safety equipment (required)

Each person on board or being towed must have an approved lifejacket. Ensure they meet the specified level requirements (Level 100, Level 50 and Level 50S)

Important note: ST Vic recommends level 50/50S lifejackets.

A functioning torch is essential for signalling in emergency situations.

Other useful equipment

It’s important to choose clothing and gear that is specifically designed for water sports and is appropriate for the conditions you’ll be riding in. All PWC’s have a warning to wear protective clothing to prevent internal injuries.

In a waterproof phone case.

A PLB is an additional safety measure that can be invaluable in case of an emergency.

A VHF radio can be a valuable tool for communication in areas with VHF coverage.

If your journey takes you more than 2 nautical miles from the coast (coastal offshore), it’s mandatory to have a registered Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) on board.

Keep your phone and your belongings dry with a waterproof bag.

If you boat in low light or at night, you need these for visibility.

More information on this here

Speed and Distance Rules  

  • all jet skis need to be travelling at a safe speed – less than 9kmph when near the shoreline
  • make sure you have the right level of skills to use a jet ski safely
  • follow speed signs and buoy markings
  • don’t do tricks near other skiers if you can’t stay 50m from them

More information on this here.

  • stay at least 50m from other vessels and swimmers
  • follow local rules
  • make sure you’re 200m out of the shore on coastal waters and the Bays (and 500m out from Martha Point to Point Nepean) before travelling above 5 knots

More information on this here.

Regulations and Hoon Laws

The International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea apply to all vessel operators, including jet ski riders.

Certain areas are designated as vessel prohibited zones for safety and environmental reasons. It’s crucial to respect these restrictions to protect both the environment and other waterway users.

Learn more about this here.

Similar to when driving, understanding and adhering to give way rules is essential for safe and smooth navigation on the water. Familiarize yourself with the give way rules to avoid collisions and maintain a safe boating environment.

Learn more about this here.

Jet ski operators must follow hoon laws (reckless driving). Don’t operate dangerously, or Victoria Police can take action, and have powers to seize your vessel. Both the police and ST Vic can restrict vessel use.

Learn more about this here.

Noise can be a problem with especially near homes and popular areas. To avoid disturbing others, stay away from the shore especially early in the morning or when winds blow onshore.

Learn more about this here.

Penalties

Operating a jet ski in Victoria requires a Marine Licence with PWC endorsement. Penalties exist for breaking the rules, and police or transport safety officers can issue fines.

Learn more about this here.

Licensing and registration

Jet ski licence (also known as a PWC endorsement)

Jet ski licence (also known as a PWC endorsement)

Register your jet ski

All powered recreational vessels, including jet skis, must be registered in accordance with the Marine Safety Act 2010.

Know the licence fees

When you get a marine license with a PWC endorsement, there are associated fees.

Let’s all have a safe and enjoyable jet skiing experience this summer!