U.S. Code of Federal Regulations

Regulations most recently checked for updates: Apr 19, 2024

§ 3.9 - May I operate my personal watercraft (PWC) in park waters?

(a) A person may operate a PWC only in park areas where authorized by special regulation. Special regulations may only be promulgated in the 21 parks listed in the following table:

Name Water type State
Amistad National Recreation AreaImpounded LakeTX
Assateague Island National SeashoreOpen Ocean/BayMD/VA
Bighorn Canyon National Recreation AreaImpounded LakeMT
Big Thicket National PreserveRiverTX
Cape Cod National SeashoreOpen Ocean/BayMA
Cape Lookout National SeashoreOpen Ocean/BayNC
Chickasaw National Recreation AreaImpounded LakeOK
Cumberland Island National SeashoreOpen Ocean/BayGA
Curecanti National Recreation AreaImpounded LakeCO
Delaware Water GapRiverPA/NJ
Fire Island National SeashoreOpen Ocean/BayNY
Gateway National Recreation AreaOpen Ocean/BayNY
Glen Canyon National Recreation AreaImpounded LakeAZ/UT
Gulf Islands National SeashoreOpen Ocean/BayFL/MS
Indiana Dunes National LakeshoreNatural LakeIN
Lake Mead National Recreation AreaImpounded LakeAZ/NV
Lake Meredith National Recreation AreaImpounded LakeTX
Lake Roosevelt National Recreation AreaImpounded LakeWA
Padre Island National SeashoreOpen Ocean/BayTX
Pictured Rocks National LakeshoreNatural LakeMI
Whiskeytown-Shasta-Trinity National Recreation AreaImpounded LakeCA

(b) Where authorized, operation of a PWC on park waters is subject to the following conditions:

(1) No person may operate a PWC unless each person aboard is wearing a Type I, II, III, or V PFD approved by the United States Coast Guard.

(2) A person operating a PWC equipped by the manufacturer with a lanyard-type engine cut-off switch must attach such lanyard to his person, clothing, or PFD, as appropriate for the specific vessel.

(3) No person may operate a PWC anytime between sunset and sunrise.

(4) No person may operate a PWC by jumping the wake, becoming partially airborne or completely leaving the water while crossing the wake of another vessel within 100 feet of the vessel creating the wake.

(5) If a park area is located within a State that has more restrictive regulations for the operation of PWC, then applicable State law applies in lieu of paragraphs (b)(1) through (b)(4) of this section.