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RALEIGH, N.C. (June 7) – Personal watercraft, also known as jet skis and wave runners, are fun but they are not toys. North Carolina has established regulations for ownership and operation of personal watercraft, which are enforced by N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission officers.

State law restricts anyone younger than 16 from operating a personal watercraft unless:
They are at least 14 years old and riding with a person who is at least 18.
They are at least 14 years old and have successfully completed an approved boating safety education course, and have proof of age and safety course completion with them while operating the personal watercraft.

It is also against the law to knowingly let anyone under 16 operate a personal watercraft who doesn’t meet the above qualifications. For personal watercraft regulations and additional safety advice go to

Reckless operation, lack of proper safety equipment and exceeding capacity are frequent violations for personal watercraft operators,” said Capt. Chris Huebner, boating safety coordinator for the Wildlife Resources Commission. “It is really important that operators know how their vessel works and the regulations that apply. We recommend the Commission-sponsored Boating Education Course or similar National Association of
State Boating Law Administrators approved courses to anyone interested in recreational boating.”

Vessel registration and titling requirements also apply to personal watercraft. Anyone who purchases or transfers a vessel or personal watercraft is required to register the vessel. Vessel transactions may be performed by mail, with one of the more than 400 Wildlife Service Agents statewide or by visiting the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission Administrative Headquarters in Raleigh. For more information, call 1-800-628-3773 or visit
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