How Old Do You Have to Be to Drive a Jet Ski

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It’s that time of the year again. Who doesn’t love watersports? Nobody. 

It’s like, as soon as the summers hit, people literally run towards the waterfront to enjoy all kinds of watersports. This is especially true for jet-skiing. 

Now the weather is perfect, you and your friends are ready for extreme fun. But wait, are you eligible to drive a jet ski? 

That’s a super important question and the answer varies according to the state you live in. 

  • Want to know if you’re allowed to Jet Ski in your state? 
  • Which state poses the least restrictions?

In this post, I am going to discuss all states’ age laws for jet skiing. And I hope you are not underage, fingers crossed.

How Old Do You Need to Be To Drive A Jet Ski?

Alabama

So if you are living in Alabama, know that your state has set a minimum age requirement to operate a PWC. Before we continue, a PWC is a personal watercraft that includes jet skis, wave runners, sea doos, etc.

You need to be 12 years or older in order to operate any PWC. However, you would still need someone 21 or older on board who has a boating license. He/she should have the reach of controls, given that you are 12 or 13. If you are 14 or older, you are free to operate alone.

Alaska

Good news for you if you are living in Alaska. There is no minimum age requirement for people who would like to operate a PWC in Alaska. However, it’s always good to be careful.

American Samoa

The minimum age requirement in American Samoa to jet ski is 18. Since you would be old enough, you do not need an elder to be on board.

Arizona

Arizona has made it illegal for a person under 12 to operate a PWC. They have basically illegalized the use of any vessel with horsepower greater than eight. This includes the PWCs too. 

However, if there is an emergency or 18 years or older person on board, it’s allowed.

Arkansas

Arkansas has made it legal for 14 year old people to operate the PWC by themselves as long as they have BE. For people under 14 i.e. 12 or 13 years old, they need to be BE certified and have an 18 years old onboard 

Similarly, for people under 12, they should have BE and a person 21 years or older on board who has the experience and can take immediate control of the jet ski.

California 

California also puts an age limit of 16 years or older for people who want to jet ski alone on a motorboat of 15 horsepower or more. For 12-15 years old, they must ski under the supervision of an adult (18 years or older).

Colorado

In Colorado, you need to be 16 years or older to operate a jet ski on your own. However, if you are younger than 16 years and can’t wait, you can complete a boating safety course and you are good to go.

Connecticut

In Connecticut, you must be 16 years or older to operate a jet ski. There are no other options.

Delaware

In Delaware, if you are of the age group 14 to 16, you need to have an adult on board with a boating class.

District of Columbia

Are you living in DC and fond of jet skiing? But are you afraid you might be underage? There is good news for you. The District of Columbia does not put an age limit for jet skiing.

Florida

With so many watersport attractions, Florida had to be careful. Hence, to operate a PWC on your own, you must be at least 14 years old.

Georgia

Georgia has been a little easy on young jet skiers by making the age limit 12 years or older. 

Guam

In Guam, if you are 16 years or older, you can operate a jet ski on your own. However, if you are under 16, you would require visual supervision.

Huawei

Huawei has allowed it for people of 15 years and above to operate a personal watercraft on their own. 

Idaho

There is no age limit required to jet ski in Idaho. You are free to have fun at any age.

Illinois

In Illinois, the allowed age to ride a jet ski is 18 years. However, if you are between 12 to 18, you can get boater education and become eligible for jet skiing.

Indiana

Indian has made it legal for 15-year-olds with valid ID and education requirements to operate a jet ski. For 16 years or older people, the requirement is a valid motor vehicle drivers’ license to ride a jet ski with a horsepower more than 10.

Iowa

The minimum age limit to ride a jet ski alone in Iowa is 12. For people under 12, it is mandatory to accompany an adult.

Kansas

In Kansas, if you are 12 years or older, you are good to go for jet skiing.

Kentucky

Just like Kansas, Kentucky has also put an age limit of 12 years for jet skiing.

Louisiana

If you are in Louisiana and are 16 years or older, you can ride a jet ski but with a boating certification.

Maine

In Maine, it is illegal for a person under 16 to operate a jet ski. However, if someone falls in the age group of 16 – 18, they may operate a jet ski if: 

  • They have successfully completed an approved boating certification, or 
  • There is someone 18 years or older onboard.

Maryland

If you are 16 or older, you are free to jet ski in Maryland.

Massachusetts

The age to ride a jet ski in Massachusetts is 16 years or older. However, if you are under 17, you would be required to get a boater’s education to operate a PWC.

Michigan

Michigan has made it legal for all 14 years and older to jet ski.

Minnesota

In Minnesota, you need to be 13 years or older to operate a jet ski. However, if you are below 17 years, you would also need to get and qualify boaters education.

Mississippi

Mississippi has set a lower age limit of 12 years for jet skiing. Also, there is a rule of completing an approved boating safety course on all age groups.

Missouri

Yes, there is an age limit on jet skiers in Missouri too, that is 14 years or older. However, people under 14 can also ride a jet ski under the direct supervision of a guardian, parent, or any person of 16 years of age or more.

Montana

In Montana, the rules are different for different age groups. If the PWC has a horsepower of 10 or more: 

  • People below 12 years would need an adult on board
  • 13 – 14-year-olds require a valid boating certification  
  • Those 15 years and more have no restrictions

Nebraska

If you are 14 years old or more, you can jet ski in Nebraska. 

Nevada

In Nevada too, the only requirement to be eligible to jet ski is being 14 years old.

New Hampshire

New Hampshire puts an age limit of 16 years to operate a jet ski. If the skier is below 16 years, an adult must accompany him/her on board.

New Jersey

In New Jersey, the lower age limit for jet skiing is 16 years. Also, the operator must possess a boating safety certificate.

New Mexico

The state of New Mexico has put an age limit of 13 years on little skiers.

New York

In New York, the lower age limit for jet skiing is 14 years. Furthermore, possession of a boating safety certificate is mandatory.

North Carolina

In North Carolina, it is illegal to operate a jet ski for a person under 14. For the age group of 14 – 16, accompanying an adult (18 years or older) on a jet ski is allowed. They can also ride a jet ski on their own if they possess:

  • A certificate of competency from a NASBLA approved boating education course 
  • Valid ID.

North Dakota

North Dakota has made it mandatory for minors (12-15 year-olds) to be state certified in order to operate a jet ski along with a horsepower of 10 or more. This is when there isn’t an adult on board.

Northern Mariana Islands

The requirements to jet ski in the Northern Mariana Islands include being 16 years or older with a valid operator’s license.

Ohio

In Ohio, the minimum age requirement for jet skiing is 12 years.

Oklahoma

Oklahoma does not allow anyone under 12 to operate a jet ski. 

For the age group 12 – 16, acquiring a NASBLA approved boating education certificate is mandatory. Also, a competent adult (18 YOA or more) within 500 yards must be there for visual supervision. 

Oregon

In Oregon, you must be 16 years old or more to operate a jet ski alone.

Pennsylvania

The lower age limit on jet skiers in Pennsylvania is 12.

Puerto Rico

In Puerto Rico, from ages 12 to 14, any minor is allowed to operate a jet ski as long as there is an adult on board.

Rhode Island

You can ride a jet ski in Rhode Island regardless of age. However, if you are born after January 1, 1986, you would be required to get certified.

South Carolina

There is no lower age limit on jet skiers in South Carolina as well. However, if you are under 16, you would require boater education to operate a vessel.

South Dakota

The minimum age to operate a jet ski in South Dakota is 14 unless there is a competent adult (at least 18 YOA) on board.

Tennessee

The lower age limit on jet skiers in Tennessee is 12.

Texas

Texas puts a minimum age requirement of 16 years to operate a jet ski.

Utah

In Utah, you must be 18 years or older to operate a jet ski unless you have a valid boating certification.

Vermont

Vermont has made it mandatory for all jet skiers to be 16 years or older and own a valid boating safety certificate.

Virginia

The minimum age to ride a jet ski in Virginia is 14. However, for 14 and 15-year-olds, it is mandatory to possess a NASBLA approved course certification.

Washington

In Washington, if you own a jet ski, the minimum age requirement is 14. However, if it is rental, the operator must be 16 years old or more.

West Virginia

The legal age to ride a jet ski in West Virginia is 15. Also, you must have proper boater education.

Wisconsin

In Wisconsin, the lower age limit for jet skiers is 12.

Wyoming

If you are 16 years or older, you can jet ski on your own. However, if you are under 16, you can only jet ski in the presence of an adult.

Final Words

That’s all. I hope by now you know whether you lie in the legal age bracket for jet skiing in your state or not. If not, let’s not rush it and wait for it to be safe. However, if you are good to go, let’s hit the waters. Happy skiing.