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    the u.s. coast guard considers personal watercraft what kind of boat?

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    Personal Water Craft : BoatUS Foundation

    The BoatUS Foundation provides this study guide to not only help with passing our free online boating safety course, but to provide a knowledge base for anyone wanting to learn about boating.

    Personal Water Craft

    Recent History

    Personal Water Craft (PWC) have become a major force in boating, accounting for a significant portion of new boat sales annually. There are more than one MILLION PWCs in use today.

    That is a huge number of boats, and unfortunately there is an equal amount of misunderstanding to go along with them. Did you know that a PWC was even considered a boat? Many people don’t, and think of them more as toys that require no training or knowledge of how they work. To start, think of the terms used for a boat - they will be the same for a PWC.

    When PWCs first came on the market, they were generally designed for only one person and were designed for high maneuverability. They were usually only available as stand-up models, and had few features.

    Over the last several years, two, three and even four seat models have become the top sellers. These craft are much more substantial than earlier craft, and are even capable of pulling a water skier. Today's models generally come with a good deal of storage space for gear, and have a very traditional "dashboard" with gauges. Remember, your PWC operator's manual will tell you the specifics of your boat, including tips on safe operation, and how many people you can safely carry.

    What they are

    Personal Water Craft are considered by the Coast Guard to be Class A inboard motor vessels and as such must adhere to the same Coast Guard regulations and standards as any other powerboats in this category, such as they must have a fire extinguisher on board, and must have an appropriate sound signaling device such as a horn or athletic whistle.

    They are also subject to USCG manufacturing and load capacity standards, which may be found on the capacity plate and in the owners manual.

    They must be registered with the state, and must also obey the Nautical Rules of the Road.

    Even though PWCs are considered to be boats, there are a few differences that you need to know.

    Virtually no PWCs have running lights as all manufacturers recommend that they only be used during daylight. In fact, many states ban the use of PWCs at night.

    Many states require that Personal Floatation Devices be worn at all times while on a PWC. Many states also regulate the operation of personal watercraft within their borders by prohibiting them from specified lakes and boating areas, or by placing geographic or time restrictions on their use.

    Some states require an adult to be on board when a minor is operating the craft, or may require completion of a boating safety course before a minor can legally operate a PWC.

    How they work

    PWCs are operated by two-cycle inboard gasoline engines that drive a jet water pump. Water is taken in through a water pick-up on the bottom of the PWC, drawn into an internal propeller (an impeller) that creates a jet of high pressure water which exits through a nozzle on the back of the PWC.

    There is also a moveable "gate" that can be dropped over the nozzle to provide reverse thrust on some models. Be careful, this is not designed to be used to stop a PWC operating at a high speed.

    PWCs are designed to be extremely maneuverable. They are built for quick, sharp turns, low-radius circling, and rapid acceleration. However, they are only maneuverable with the throttle engaged – TO MAINTAIN STEERAGE, YOU MUST APPLY THROTTLE! For instance, the best way to avoid hitting an object is NOT to slow down, rather, you should apply throttle and steer away to avoid impact.

    PWCs are self-righting if you fall off. Don’t abandon your vessel if it overturns. Simply turn it over on the direction marked on the hull or as indicated in the user’s manual that you read prior to use. Righting your craft improperly may make it more difficult than necessary to re-board, and you could cause internal damage to your PWC. To re-board your craft, approach the rear of the PWC, pull yourself up into a kneeling position, take your seat, start it up and continue on your trip. This sounds easier than it is – it is often quite difficult to re-board a PWC, especially in rough water or when fatigued. A good idea is to practice in calm shallow water before venturing out.

    Most models have an automatic cut-off lanyard (which must be attached to the operator’s wrist or life jacket at all times) or self-circling feature to prevent a PWC from going far from a driver who has fallen off.

    Practice boarding your PWC in a calm, shallow area with your friends or family. If you have difficulty getting back on a PWC from the water, you should most likely avoid using your PWC in areas where there is a strong current or high waves. There are "ladders" available to help you climb back on – definitely a worthwhile investment. Finally, don't forget to re-attach your cut-off lanyard.

    When operating a PWC, keep clear of shallow water (less than two feet deep) or beds of sea grass or other vegetation. Since a PWC sucks water in to power its water jet, it is best not to operate in these waters. This will help keep dirt and debris from fouling the impeller, which could lead to power loss or damage to your PWC.

    Source : www.boatus.org

    Personal Watercraft Safety Regulations

    The U.S. Coast Guard defines a Personal Watercraft (PWC) as a craft which is less than 16 feet in length and designed to be operated by a person or persons sitting, standing or kneeling on the craft rather than within the confines of a hull.

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    What is a Personal Watercraft?

    A Personal Watercraft (PWC) is defined as a vessel which uses an inboard motor powering a water jet pump as the primary source of motive power,

    A Personal Watercraft (PWC) is defined as a vessel which uses an inboard motor powering a water jet pump as the primary source of motive power, and which is designed to be operated by a person sitting, standing, or kneeling on the vessel, rather than the conventional manner of sitting or standing inside the vessel.

    It is not a toy. If you operate one, you have the responsibility of knowing and obeying boating regulations and practicing boating safety. Approximately 30% of all injuries from boating accidents were attributed to the use of personal watercraft.

    The U. S. Coast Guard classifies personal watercraft (PWC) as inboard boats. That means personal watercraft are subject to the same rules and requirements as any other powerboat plus additional requirements specific to PWC. The PWC operator has primary responsibility for maintaining a proper lookout and avoiding accidents.

    In addition to the general regulations in effect for motorboats, PWC owners must also be aware that there are local laws and ordinances around the country that further restrict PWC operations. They include age of the operator, hours of operation, special no wake zone provisions, assigned operating areas and restrictions, and speed and distance limits.

    Make certain you know the laws that apply to you in your area of operation. For example, some states prohibit wake jumping. Because PWCs are not equipped with navigation lights operation is prohibited at night and during times of restricted visibility.

    Federal Regulations require that all personal watercraft:

    Be registered and display a registration number in accordance with state and federal guidelines.

    Have properly fitted, USCG approved PFD for each person on board (In most states they are required to be WORN by a PWC operator or passenger.).

    PFD's should have an impact rating equal to, or better than, the PWC maximum speed.

    Have a USCG approved, Class B-1 fire extinguisher aboard the PWC.

    Have a lanyard connected to the start/stop switch of your PWC. This will stop the engine if the operator falls off.

    The Personal Watercraft Industry Association also recommends that the operator wear eye protection, a wetsuit, footwear, and gloves.

    Source : aceboater.com

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