Personal Watercraft Handbook

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Personal Watercraft HandbookA guide to the key PWC rules and requirements

ContentsIntroduction 3Licensing 4Registration 5General information 12Before you goout on your PWC Alcohol and drugs 12 PWC maintenance 12 Riding tips 16 PWC checklist 12 Know your PWC 17 Preventative maintenance 12 Marine pollution 17 Noise annoys 13 Fuelling 17 Steering 1713 Boarding and re-boarding 17 Falling off 18 Have the right equipment 18 Safety tips 1816Safety equipment 6Safety on the water 7Know the rules 7 How to obtain aPWC driving licence 9 Boating Safety Courserequirements 14 PWC exclusion zone 9 PWC licence test requirements 14 No driving in an irregular manner 9 Practical BoatingExperience requirements 14 Alternative methods toobtain a boat driving licence PWC terminology 15Emergencies 19 When applying fora PWC licence 15PWC operating restrictions No Go PWC Areas 10 After sunset and before sunrise 10 Designated swimming area 10Towing 11 Responsibilities 11 Distance off when towing people 11 Tow-in surfing 11Special thanks to multi PWC World Champion Kylie Ellmers (featured on the cover) and multi World SurfingChampion Tom Carroll (pictured on pages 7, 11, 17 and 19) for their assistance with this PWC safety campaign.2Personal Watercraft Handbook19

A Personal Watercraft (PWC) is a devicewith a fully enclosed hull that may bedriven standing up, sitting astride orkneeling, and includes jet poweredsurfboards. PWC are fast, powerfuland provide a recreational boatingalternative. They are lighter and moremaneouvrable than traditional powerboatsand their popularity is increasing withthe development of better enginetechnologies and quieter operations.The popular choice of PWC for boatingactivity means that it is important forpeople to know how to drive themsafely and with courtesy at all times.You must have aPWC Driving LicenceA Young Adult PWC driving licenceis subject to the following restrictions:In NSW it is compulsory for every persondriving a PWC to hold a current PWCdriving licence. There are two types ofPWC driving licence:1. P WC driving licence for those aged16 years and over.2. Y oung Adult PWC driving licencefor people aged from 12 to less than16 years. Be accompanied on board the PWCby the holder of a PWC driving licencewhen travelling at 10 knots or more. Never exceed 20 knots. Never travel at 10 knots or morewhen towing a person. Do not drive in any aquatic eventwithout Roads and MaritimeServices approval.The majority of PWC drivers act in aresponsible manner but there are somewhose actions adversely affect thereputation of all PWC drivers.This handbook contains information aboutthe rules and requirements for driving aPWC and provides tips on how to operateyour PWC safely and reduce conflictwith other people around the waterways.Always apply care, courtesy and commonsense when riding your PWC.Roads and Maritime Services Watercraft HandbookIntroduction

LicensingLicence periodA PWC driving licence is available foreither one (1), three (3) or five (5) years.Young Adult driving licences are onlyavailable for one year.All PWC driving licences are issued asplastic photo identity cards.Note: A PWC driving licence includesa General Boat driving licence.ON THE SPOT FINE Driving a PWC without a PWCdriving licence: 500 first offence. 750 second offence. 1500 third or subsequent offence.And includes automaticdisqualification from holdingor obtaining any boat licence.Remember It is a requirement for every PWCdriving licence holder to carry theirPWC driving licence when driving aPWC and be able to produce it to anauthorised officer.4Personal Watercraft HandbookON THE SPOT FINE 100 If a PWC driving licence is notproduced when requested by anauthorised officer.Owners of the PWC must be able toidentify the person driving their vessel atall times, even if the owner is not onboardthe PWC at the time.PWC owners can be found guilty of anoffence if they are unable to provide theidentity of a person in control of theirPWC under the Marine Legislation.PWC owners may also be guilty of anoffence if they allow an unlicensedperson to drive the PWC.Licence holders and owners of PWCmust promptly notify Roads and MaritimeServices of any changes to their personaldetails or address. Licences sent to thewrong address can be cancelled anda re-instatement fee charged. If yourlicence has not been renewed within fiveyears of its expiry date you will need tocomplete the licence process (except thepractical experience) and pass the licencetest again.Holders of a PWC driving licence arepermitted to drive other recreationalvessels (certain restrictions mayapply), but holders of a GeneralLicence are NOT permitted to drive aPWC at any speed. The owner of a PWCcan also be fined for permitting anunlicensed person to operate a PWC.

Registration numbersRegistration labelPWC registration letters and numbersmust be no less than 100 mm high;displayed clearly on both sides of thePWC, well above the normal waterline andin a position that can be seen when youare underway. The numbers cannot bedisplayed on the control arm of your PWC.The registration label that is sent toyou annually on the payment of yourregistration fee should be applied tothe port side, that is, the left side ofyour PWC, adjacent to the letter ‘N’of your registration.If the PWC has many decals it may benecessary to mount the numbers ontoa ‘blockout’ sheet and apply this toyour vessel.Most sign writers who use computerisedvinyl lettering can do this task for you ata reasonable cost. It is an offence not tohave your registration numbers clearlyshown on your PWC.ON THE SPOT FINE 100 If registration numbers are notproperly displayed on your PWC.PWC behaviour labelWhen driving a personal watercraft:00573501John Michael Citizen123 Smith StSmithtown NSW 2000Exp: 09-12-2011WEAR A LIFEJACKET Type 1 or 2 offshore. Type 1, 2 or 3 on enclosed waters.Applies to everyone on board.DON’T wear an inflatable lifejacket.PWC Behaviour LabelThe label is designed to ensure the basicrules are clear to the driver. It also ensuresthat anyone who uses your PWC will beimmediately aware of the basic rules andthat the PWC can only be driven by aperson holding a current PWC licence.HAWKESBUBLUEMOUNTAINSANThe owner of a PWC must ensure that thePWC is not driven by any person unless ithas a PWC Behaviour Label firmly affixedto it that is clearly visible from the steeringposition at all times and is not defaced,obliterated or concealed.BE PWC LICENSED Carry your current PWClicence at all times.D.O.B. 03-07-62NEPEThe registration numbers displayed mustbe in a contrasting colour to the hull, solidcharacters (not outlines), in a clear font orstyle and displayed in upper case so theycan be clearly identified.Personal Watercraft HandbookRegistrationRYGOSFORDBROKEN BAYBOTANY BAYPORT HACKINGOBSERVE PWCRESTRICTION ZONESNo irregular driving (ie. weaving;driving in a circle or other pattern;wave/swell jumping) within 200mof the shore.OBSERVE OTHER AREASWITHIN 200M FROM SHORENEAR VISIBLE RESIDENCESNo irregular driving.KEEP YOUR DISTANCEStay under 10 knots(about 18.5kph) when: 60m from people, canoes/kayaks,surf or swimming zones. 30m from other vessels, objects,structures or shore.OBEY SPEED RESTRICTIONSKEEP SAFE, STAY RIGHTDRIVING A PWC BETWEEN SUNSETAND SUNRISE IS PROHIBITEDOBSERVE EXCLUSION ZONES WHEREDRIVING A PWC IS PROHIBITEDInfo Line: 13 12 56Boat 12.277 MARWWSLAB040 09/12Roads and Maritime Services

Safety equipmentLifejacketsApproved lifejacketWhen on board a PWC it is essentialthat all persons (both driver andpassengers) wear an ‘approved’ and‘appropriate’ lifejacket, in order tocomply with NSW regulations.An approved lifejacket (Type 1, 2 or 3) isone that complies with relevant Australian,European, Canadian, New Zealand orUnderwriters Laboratories Standards.Level 150, 100, 50 and 50S must complywith Australian Standard AS4758.ON THE SPOT FINE 250 250 for each person not wearinga lifejacket.Approved lifejackets are:Lifejacket Type 1 or Level 150or Level 100Offers protection from drowning bymaintaining a person in a safe floatingposition in the water, with buoyancybehind the head.Lifejacket Type 2 or Level 50Has less buoyancy than Type 1 and doesnot have a collar. For safety reasons,they are always bright in colour. Shouldyou become separated from your PWC,you will be much more easily seen inhigh visibility colours, which means yourchances of rescue are greater.Lifejacket Type 3 or Level 50SOften used by skiers and hassophisticated fastening systems able towithstand high impact. The only problem6Personal Watercraft Handbookwith these jackets is their colour, whichis often not very visible and thereforemay present a problem in search andrescue situations.Lifejacket selectionOn open waters (surf beaches, oceansor what is referred to as ‘offshore’ or‘coastal’ waters) a lifejacket Type 3 is notacceptable. When offshore a lifejacketType 1 or a lifejacket Type 2 MUSTbe worn.While using your PWC on enclosedwaters (rivers, lakes or dams) any typeof lifejacket may be worn.Inflatable lifejackets are notrecommended to be worn on PWC.PWC are exempt from carrying othersafety equipment.Tow-in surfIngA Lifejacket Type 1 or Level 150 or 100or Type 2 or Level 50 must be worn bythe driver and a Lifejacket Type 2 or 3or Level 50 or 50S by the surfer.For further details regarding tow-insurfing, see page 11.

Personal Watercraft HandbookSafety on the waterKnow the rulesApproaching vessels head onEach vessel alters course to starboard(right) and passes port to port (left). Thisapplies in both narrow channels andopen waters.MAR0269 Stay Right Sticker v3.pdf121/06/114:18 PMGive way (non-powered vessels)Give way to sailing vessels, canoes andother passive craft.MAR0269/UC 06/11SpeedOvertakingKeep out of the way of the vessel beingovertaken and pass safely either side.Give way (powered vessels)Give way to vessels approaching fromyour starboard (right) side, they haveright of way.All vessels must travel at a safe speedat all times. A safe speed is one at whichthe vessel can be stopped in time to avoidany danger which may suddenly arise.When judging a safe speed, you mustconsider a number of issues – visibility,other vessels, navigation hazards,wind, waves and currents and themanoeuvrability of your vessel.For your safety and the sake of everyoneelse using the water, do not exceed setspeed limits.ON THE SPOT FINE Exceeding speed limit 250 or 500.LookoutKeep a good lookout by sight andhearing. Be fully aware of the boatingenvironment, especially in bad weather orrestricted visibility. Look all around – evenbehind you.Don’t confuse the lookout duties of thedriver with those of the observer whenthe PWC is towing a person. The driveris responsible at all times for keeping alookout for danger.Roads and Maritime Services

Distance offA PWC towing a person or travellingat 10 knots or more must remain: 60 metres from any person in the water(including a surfer or boogie boarder),sailing vessel or passive craft. 30 metres from another power drivenvessel, the shore, any moored/anchoredvessel, or any structure or object. A “safe distance” from any other vesseltowing someone. Note: If the 60m or30m rule is not possible to follow andthe rule is breached, the vessel mustremain at a “safe distance” from theother vessel/object, and the obligationis on the vessel operator to prove thatthe reduced distance was in fact “safe.”Accordingly, “If in doubt, keep yourdistance.” 200 metres from vessels and people inthe water when tow-in surfing.ON THE SPOT FINE 250 If distance off rules are not adhered to.Obey the signsIn some areas, PWC activity may beprohibited or have restrictions placedon the speed at which they may operate.These areas may be appropriatelymarked by signs or notices either in,or in the vicinity of, the area concernedeg, in Gunnamatta Bay (Port Hacking).ON THE SPOT FINE 500 Failure to obey speed restriction signs 250 or 500.Note: PWC may not be driven onSydney Harbour even though signsmay not be in evidence. Penaltiesrange from 500 (first offence) to 1500 for third and subsequentoffences for breaches.8Personal Watercraft Handbook

PWC may be prohibited or haverestrictions placed on their speed and/ordriving pattern as follows:1. PWC Exclusion ZonePENALTY 500 1st offenceThe operation of PWC is prohibited inSydney Harbour, including the waters ofall tidal bays, rivers and their tributaries(includes Parramatta River, MiddleHarbour and the Lane Cove River).2. N o driving in anirregular mannerPENALTY 250PWC are not permitted to be driven in anirregular manner in:(a) A PWC Restriction Zone (see diagramfar right) or;(b) Elsewhere within 200 metres of theshoreline where one or more dwellingsare located within 200 metres of theshoreline and visible from the water.Examples of driving in an irregularmanner are:Personal Watercraft HandbookPWC operating restrictionsPWC Restriction Zone Driving in a circle or other pattern. Weaving or diverting. Surfing down or jumping over or acrossany swell, wave or wash.This means that PWC are required to beoperated generally in a straight line within200m of the shoreline.Irregular driving not permitted within 200 metres ofthe shoreline (show above) (except Sydney Harbour,which is a PWC Exclusion Zone).ATTENTIONIrregular driving not permitted within 200 metresof the shoreline where one or more dwellings arewithin 200 metres of the shore and visible fromthose waters.IRREGULAR DRIVING ISPROHIBITED WITHIN 200METRES OF THE SHORE IF,FROM THESE WATERS, ANYDWELLING LOCATED WITHIN200 METRES OF THISSHORE IS VISIBLEPENALTIES APPLYNote that driving in an irregularmanner does not apply when a PWCis towing a waterskier or aquaplaner.However, as soon as towing activity isfinished, the “no irregular driving” rulecomes into effect.This zone encompasses the bays,rivers and other waterways within theSydney basin area which lies betweenPort Hacking, Wamberal and the BlueMountains but does not include watersoff the coast.Roads and Maritime Services

3. No Go PWC Areas4. After sunset andbefore sunriseON THE SPOT FINE 250ON THE SPOT FINE 500There are some areas where PWC useis prohibited and they will be indicatedby signs. PWC driving is not permitted inthese areas at any time.Driving a PWC between sunset andsunrise is prohibited, regardless ofwhether navigation lights are fitted.5. In a designatedswimming areaA designated swimming area in a surfzone is defined as the area extending500 metres out from shore between surfpatrol flags or signs. In other locationsa swimming area is defined as the areaextending 60 metres out from shorebetween signs for swimmers.A PWC must not be operated in thesezones or within 60 metres either side ofthe flags or signs marking such DIN DIRECTION INDICATEDPENALTIES APPLY13 12 5610Personal Watercraft Handbook

ResponsibilitiesWhen towing someone, the driverof the PWC must: Hold a current PWC licence. Ensure the PWC has current registration. Have an observer on board who iseither 16 years of age or older, or theholder of a Young Adult licence.The driver of the PWC is responsible forthe safety of the PWC and people beingtowed and for maintaining the appropriatedistances off applicable to the PWC andthe skier(s).The observer must: Not suffer hearing, sight or otherdisabilities which could affect theperformance of observation duties. Not be under the influence of alcoholor drugs. Observe the people being towed andreport all matters affecting them tothe driver. Tell the driver about all vesselsapproaching from behind. Be familiar with the standardhand signals.Personal Watercraft HandbookTowingDistances off whentowing peopleWhen towing, the driver must keep boththe PWC and the people being towed ata minimum distance of: 30 metres from power-drivenvessels (including other PWC) nottowing skiers, land and structures(including jetties, bridges, mooringsand navigation markers) or, if that isnot possible a safe distance. 60 metres from people or non-poweredvessels (sailing and passive) or, if thatis not possible, a safe distance. A safe distance from any vesseltowing people.If towing people using aerial equipment(eg, paraflying) keep the vessel, the peoplebeing towed and the aerial equipment aminimum of 300 metres from any bridge,cable, wire, pipeline or structure.No more than three (3) people can betowed at once. Towing may also beprohibited in some areas and signs maybe displayed. In other areas, towing maynot be possible because of the locationof hazards, or if safe distances off cannotbe maintained.PWC riding and towing are prohibitedbetween sunset and sunrise.Tow-in surfIngTow-in surfing is a technique wherea person operating a PWC tows asurfer onto a breaking wave. In NSWthe following conditions apply to towin surfing: Tow-in surfing is only permitted onopen waters at surf breaks onlywhere there are no paddle surfboardriders present. Both the driver of the PWC andthe surfboard rider must have acurrent PWC licence, current FirstAid certificate, wear an appropriatelifejacket (can be a lifejacket Type3 for the surfboard rider) when theactivity is being undertaken, and haveattended any course or passed anyexamination required by Roads andMaritime Services.Roads and Maritime Services

General informationThe driver of the PWC: May not tow more than one personat a time. Must yield right of way to all otherboating or ocean recreation activities. Must maintain a distance of at least200 metres from all vessels and peoplein the water. Must carry dive fins and a safety knife.The PWC is to be equipped with a: Rescue sled. Second kill switch lanyard wrappedaround the handlebars. Two-way communication device. Toolkit. Quick release floating tow rope witha minimum length of 7 metres. Bow tow-line with a minimum lengthof 7 metres.ON THE SPOT FINE 500 If PWC is found in breach of tow-insurfing requirements.Only PWC may be used for tow-in surfing.No observer is required on the PWCprovided there is compliance with theabove conditions at all times.12Personal Watercraft HandbookAlcohol and drugsGo easy on the drink. The driver, theobserver and any person being towedmust remain under 0.05 and all can besubject to random breath testing (RBT).Penalties range from 1,100 for a firstoffence in the low range (0.05–0.08)to a 5,500 fine and up to two yearsimprisonment or both for a second offencein the high range (0.15 and above).PWC maintenanceIt is important to ensure that your PWC isin good order by inspecting key featuresbefore you leave home or the ramp,mooring or wharf. The major causesof breakdown are engine failure, fuelshortage or contamination, mechanicalfailure and battery failure.PWC checklistCheck: Your registration number and label andthe PWC Behaviour Label. Make surethey are properly displayed. Your steering control to ensure that itis working properly. Fuel and oil supplies. Top upif necessary. That the engine compartment isadequately ventilated. Use your noseand sniff for fumes before trying tostart your engine. That there are no leaks in fuel lines,fuel or oil tanks or the exhaust system. Batteries; ensure terminals are safelysecured and properly charged withfluid at proper levels. The engine hood cover is latchedsecurely. That the pump/intake area is freeof debris. For cracks and other damage to the hull. The throttle, making sure that it is inproper working order. The lanyard cut-off switch is in properworking order and that it is attached toyour wrist or your lifejacket. You have enough lines for mooringand towing. Choke and fuel reserve controls.Preventative maintenanceKeep the hull free of damage, algaeand other growth and the engine free ofgrease and oil build-up. Make sure thatthe engine is pr

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