Jet Skis

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Jet Skis

Please note: All recreational boaties MUST carry life jackets in Marlborough waters.

Anyone in charge of a recreational vessel should expect to be prosecuted and fined $200 if they’re found without the life jackets required for those on board. See the link below for more information on requirements to carry life jackets.

See life jacket information

A jet ski - also called a personal water craft (PWC) - is best described as a power-driven vessel that:

  • Has a fully enclosed hull; and
  • Does not take on water if capsized; and
  • Is designated to be operated by a person standing, sitting astride or kneeling on it, but not seated within it.

In terms of the Maritime Transport Act a PWC falls within the definition of a ship and is required to observe all relevant rules and regulations applying to any ship. Several people have been prosecuted in New Zealand after accidents involving personal water craft. Since 1995, seven people have been killed in accidents involving jet skis. On two occasions the operators of the personal water craft involved were charged with manslaughter, convicted and imprisoned.

Personal water craft are, like every other pleasure vessel, required to observe a speed limit of five knots when:

  • Within 200 m of the shore or any structure
  • Within 50 m of another vessel, raft or person in the water
  • Within 200 m of any vessel or raft flying the International Code Flag "A" (diver's flag)

Marlborough District Council frequently receives complaints regarding these craft, especially relating to their noise and close inshore operation. Operators are requested to bear the noise factor and other water users in mind and, where possible, enjoy this leisure activity in more isolated areas.