Categorized | Sports

DLNR reminder: Personal water craft certification required


The Department of Land and Natural Resources is reminding the public that certification in the safe use of a thrill craft, also known as jet skis and Personal Water Craft (PWC), is required to operate these types of vessels on state waters.  

“Their acceleration, speed capabilities and maneuverability make thrill craft fun to ride,” said Laura H. Thielen, DLNR chairwoman. “These same attributes also place them in the high-risk category as far as waterborne vessels go.”

Their size, relatively low cost and fuel efficiency make them cost-efficient and easy to store, and that undoubtedly contributed to the rise in their numbers.

“The proliferation of thrill craft and the potential for injuries stemming from use of these vessels prompted the department to implement a rule in 2005 requiring all thrill craft operators to be certified,” Thielen said.  

In order to meet the need for certification, DLNR’s Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation (DOBOR) worked with the community colleges and local water safety professionals to develop two courses, one for basic PWC operation and another for Tow-In Surfing certification.

In addition to basic rules-of-the-road instruction, these two PWC certification courses cover such information as local ocean safety principles and practices; historical, cultural, and customary practices of Hawaii’s ocean users; and rules or laws pertaining to protected species and thrill craft operation in the state.

“Although we have had the rule in place for quite some time and a system for certifying operators, not a lot of people know about the requirement.  As a result, a great number of thrill craft enthusiasts are operating their vessels without the proper certification,” Thielen said.

People operating their thrill craft without the required certification can be fined $50-$1000.

Windward Community College and its associated colleges on Kauai, Maui and Hawaii Island are the only entities that offer the state-approved thrill craft certification course needed to operate a thrill craft in Hawaii.  

Cost for the one-day Recreational Thrill Craft Operators Safety Educational Course for PWC certification is $109. Cost for the two-day Ocean Safety Educational Course for tow-in surfing certification is $139. 

The course fee includes a manual, certificate of completion and laminated certificate that an operator can carry on the jet ski. 

WCC has one scheduled class on the Big Island:

* Hilo, Aug. 1-2 (call Hawaii Community College at 974-7531 to register)

— Find out more: 

DLNR’s Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation:

One Response to “DLNR reminder: Personal water craft certification required”

  1. David D. Clark says:

    Can the PWC course be done online, like the boating coure, and why so expensive?


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