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  Services » Regional Services » Maritime services » Rules and safety information » Jetskiing » Jet ski rules

Personal water crafts are considered 'power-driven vessels' by law, so the same rules apply to both your jet ski and other power-driven vessels.

The easiest way to make sure you know the rules is to complete a safe boating course and familiarise yourself with the local rules, and to read the Navigation Safety Bylaw.

You can also download and print off this factsheet with the rules and regs [PDF, 456 KB].

And to make sure you really know the rules, you should

WEAR A LIFEJACKET

Wear a personal floatation device or lifejacket at all times.

KNOW THE SPEED RULES

Keep to 5 knots (a fast walking pace / 9.25km per hour) within:

Coastal waters Inland waters
  • 200m of the shore 
  • 30m of the shore 
  • 50m of another vessel
  • 50m of another vessel and structures 
  • 200m of a dive flag 
  • 200m of a dive flag 
  • 50m of a person in the water
  • 50m of a person in the water

 

FIFTEEN YEARS OR OLDER

You must be 15 years of age to operate a jet ski by yourself. If you're younger than 15, make sure you're on it with an adult who can reach the controls.

COMMUNICATIONS

You must carry at least one form of waterproof communication, such as a mobile phone in a dry bag or a waterproof VHF radio. To be safer, it's recommended you carry two forms of communication.

KEEP IN TOUCH

Report your trip. Always let someone know where you are going and when you will be back.

WATER SKIING / TOWING

If you are using your ski to tow somebody or something, you must have a second person (an observer) sitting on the back of the your ski and watching the person/item being towed.

WEATHER CHECK

Always check the weather at least 12 hours before heading out.

TURN SAFELY

Turn safely. Apply the throttle to turn. When you throttle off completely you lose steering control.

JET SKI ZONES

Jet skis can be operated as any other powered craft on water within the Waikato region.

There are jet ski designated zones in the Waikato region (refer site specific schedules in the navigation safety bylaw):
- Mōkau
- Awakino (from the river mouth to the 5 knot zone)
- Kāwhia (an area on the northern side of the harbour entrance)
- Tairua (there are three PWC zones)
- Tuakau (an area from the Tuakau Bridge upstream to the Smeed Road quarry).

There are also jet ski prohibited or restricted zones in the Waikato region. These zones include:
- Hamilton City (Pukete footbridge upstream to Cobham Drive bridge)
- Lake Karapiro (includes all water within zones 1 and 2)
- Lake Puketirini (all water)
- Lake Kainui (all water).

 

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