Utah Jet Ski Laws: A Simple Cheat Sheet With All You Need to Know

Jet skis are a great way to spend time on the water in the summertime and create some memorable times with family and friends. In order to have a great time, you will need to know the laws for riding a jet ski according to the state you reside in. Rules and regulations can vary from state to state and it is a need-to-know in order to be able to enjoy your time on the water.

Anyone 12 to 15 years of age (under the supervision of one that is 18 years or older) can operate a Personal Watercraft after achieving the boating education course that is provided by Utah State Parks. The certificate must be in the user’s possession.

It is important to be aware of the following regulations and laws for riding a jet ski on the water within the state of Utah. By doing so you are responsibly following the law and that will guarantee you have an adventurous and stress-free time on your jet ski with family and friends.

The Basics

Age Restrictions

In order to receive a boating safety certificate you are required to do the following:

  • Anyone 12 to 15 years or older can operate a personal watercraft (as long as they are supervised by one 18 years or older) with a boating education certificate
  • Personal watercraft can be operated by anyone 16 to 17 years of age with a completed boating safety certificate to show for it. They must also have this in their possession while on the PWC
  • Sailboats and motorized boats can be operated by someone under 16 years of age as long as they are being responsibly supervised by an 18-year-old.

Anyone the age of 18 years or older can operate the personal watercraft without the boating education or supervision requirements.


Waterways Conservation Officers have the authority and power to stop and test a vessel operator if they feel they have enough reason to do so. In order to avoid any potential fines follow the guidelines below:

Carry the Card: Anyone operating a PWC and completed the boater education course must carry the card they received while they are on the PWC at all times. This is so that they can have it available if they are stopped for inspection by an enforcement officer

Penalty: If you fail to carry your boater education card on board with you and you are stopped it is possible for you to receive a fine from the officer.

Utah Boating Laws

Alcohol and Drug Abuse

It is prohibited within the state of Utah to operate a PWC or boat while under the influence. It is even illegal to have any alcoholic beverage on board of your PWC.

Being under the influence while operating any water vessel can result in impaired balance, blurred vision, poor coordination, slow reaction time and impaired judgment.

All things that can lead to some serious harm of yourself and others around you.

Anyone under the age of 21 with any alcohol in their system is forbidden from driving the PWC.

The state of Utah declared that a person is boating under the influence if they

  • have blood or breath alcohol of 0.08 grams or greater
  • if their breath alcohol concentration renders them incapable of even safely using the water vessel

If you are caught of boating under the influence you can be subjected to jail time, large fines, and cancellation of your vessel insurance.

An officer can pull you over if he/she believes they have enough information to assume you are boating under the influence you must submit to an alcohol test. Refusal to do can result in a court date and the loss of your motor vehicle driver’s license.

Registering Your Jet Ski in Utah

Requirements for Titling:

  • Title – A watercraft that is 1985 or newer will need to be titled if operated within the state of Utah (except for canoes and inflatable watercraft that are powered by an outboard motor with 25 horsepower or less). A watercraft that is 1984 or older will not need to be issued a title, but there still might be registration required.
  • Form TC-656V, Vessel Application for Utah Title
  • VIN inspections, if you are titling your jet ski in Utah for the first time
  • There must be a name on the new title

Requirements for Registration:

Exemptions to Registration:

  • A ship’s lifeboat
  • Watercraft exempted by the Division of Parks and Recreation
    • Sailboards
    • Inflatable vessels without a motor
  • Watercraft owned by the United States Government
  • A watercraft that is from another country or is residing in Utah temporarily
  • The watercraft that will not be the state for more than 60 days and is owned by a non-resident

Personal Watercraft Uniform Fees

Age of Personal WatercraftModel Years Uniform Statewide Age-based Fee
Less than 3 years 2019-2017$55
3 or more years but less than 6 years 2016-2014$45
6 or more years but less than 9 years2013-2011$35
9 or moe years but less than 12 years2010-2008$25
12 or more years2007 & Older$10

Personal Watercraft Rules & Regulations

Every person must wear a personal flotation device that is approved by the U.S. Coast Guard. They must wear their personal flotation device while on board the PWC. An inflatable personal flotation device is not permitted on board a PWC.

Types of Personal Flotation Devices

Type 1Offshore Life Jackets This vest can turn an unconscious person in the water to face up in the water. It was made for rough waters and for situations where rescue might take a long time.
Type 2Near-Shore VestsThis vest is fit for calmer waters and faster rescues. If you were to wear this while unconscious it may not be able to turn you face up in the water.
Type 3Flotation AidsThis vest can also be a full-sleeved jacket and it is great for calm waters and fast rescues. This will definitely not turn you face up in rough waters. This is generally worn for water sports.
Type 4Throw able DevicesThis type of flotation device i a cushion or ring buoys and are typically use to throw at someone in trouble. They are not made to last for long hours in the waters, or non-swimmers, or the unconscious.
Type 5Special-Use DevicesThis type of flotation device was made for activities like kayaking, water-skiing These typically look like white water vests, deck suits and personal flotation device hybrids.

While this detail is not legally required for you to have on your PWC, it is strongly recommended for anyone who may be operating a PWC to have lanyard style ignition for it to be safely attached to the person.

You have to stay at least 150 feet away from any personal watercraft, boat, person, or launch area if you are using a PWC that is above the idle speed.

Do not use the PWC between sunset and sunrise. You can use your PWC between the hours of sunrise to sunset.

Geoff Southworth

I am a California native and I enjoy all the outdoors has to offer. My latest adventures have been taking the family camping, hiking and surfing.

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