Personal watercraft

A personal watercraft, also commonly known as a jet ski, is a vessel propelled by a motor that has a fully enclosed hull. It is operated by a person who either sits, stands or kneels on it.

When personal watercraft can be operated

A personal watercraft can be operated on state waters:

  • after 8.00 am from Monday to Saturday (and after 9.00 am on a Sunday) until sunset or 8.00 pm on any day
  • at any time between sunrise and sunset on any day when waterskiing on the River Murray.

Rules specific to personal watercraft

The same rules for motorboats apply to personal watercraft with the following additions.

  • Personal watercraft can only be operated by people at least 16 years of age who hold a boat operator's licence.
  • The operator and any passengers onboard a personal watercraft must wear a personal flotation device (life jacket) Type 2 or Type 3 at all times.
  • A personal watercraft can tow another person on the River Murray.
  • Unless zoned otherwise a 4 knot speed limit applies to all personal watercraft within 200 metres of the metropolitan shoreline (between Outer Harbour southern breakwater and southern end of Sellicks Beach) and the backwaters of the River Murray. There are a number of other areas within South Australia where waters with similar restrictions are marked with signs. If in doubt, check with the local council or your local marine safety officer.
  • Do not ride a personal watercraft in unprotected waters (beyond two nautical miles offshore) without the approval from the Department of Planning,Transport and Infrastructure.
  • Do not ride a personal watercraft without a code of practice (Ride Smart) sticker correctly affixed. Ride Smart stickers are available free of charge from any Service SA customer service centre.

Except for wearing a personal flotation device, there is no legal requirement to carry safety equipment on your personal watercraft.

Related information

On this website

Alcohol, drugs and boating
Anchoring in channels
Being safe on your boat
Boat capacity
Boating speed restrictions and limits
Kayaking and canoeing
Riverbank collapse
Safe boating near commercial vessels
The dangers of carbon monoxide
Unseaworthy boats
Whales and dolphins
Recreational Safety Handbook

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Page last updated: 29 August 2016