Boating & Personal Watercraft Regulations
salt water fishing


From the Maryland Department of Natural Resources

1. You must be at least 16 years of age to operate a personal watercraft (PWC);

2. An operator of a PWC may not tow a water skier unless the craft has the capacity to carry 3 persons;

3. An operator of a PWC must carry a certificate of boater safety education if they were born after July 1, 1972;

4. All persons aboard a PWC must wear a personal flotation device (PFD);

5. A person may not operate a PWC between the hours of sunset and sunrise;

6. Because the operator rides on the outside of the vessel and is subject to falling off, each vessel shall be equipped with a safety cut-off or self-circling device;

7. When operating a PWC, all safety cut-off devices must be attached to the operator and/or the self- circling device must not be altered.

8. On Maryland waters of the Atlantic Ocean, a person may not operate a PWC within 300 feet of people in the water or surf fishermen;

9. On all waters of the State, a person may not operate a PWC at a speed in excess of 6 knots within 100 feet of any shore, wharf, pier, piling, bridge abutment, or persons in the water.

10. A person may not operate a PWC at a speed in excess of 6 knots within 100 feet of a vessel except in a crossing or overtaking situation as described in the Federal Rules of the Road;

11. A person may not operate a PWC in a negligent manner, i.e. jumping the wake of another vessel within 100 feet of the vessel;

12. Regulations require every livery operator or lessor of PWC's to:

  • a) post a copy of these regulations;
  • b) advise all renters to read the regulations; and
  • c) add a clause to the rental contract, which will be signed by the renter, stating that the renter read and understands the regulations.

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