Recreation : Guidelines : Water craft and jet skis

Guidelines for personal water craft and jet skis in European marine sites

European marine features where the activity takes place

Code of practice

National representative body

The ownership of personal water craft (PWC) is currently estimated at approximately 17,000. This does not include the large number of participants who hire craft, the majority of which are on inland sites. Following the demise of the Personal Watercraft Association in 1996, the activity has been taken under the umbrella of the RYA although relatively few participants are individual members.

European marine features where the activity takes place

Personal watercraft are shallow hulled craft propelled by water jets rather than propellers. This design allows them to operate in relatively shallow areas. Generally, the craft are launched from trailers, although they can be carried short distances where access is more difficult. The need for the participant to travel at speed suggests that larger open areas of water are preferred to smaller enclosed water bodies.



Likely to occur

Unlikely to occur



Mud and Sand Flats

(at high water)




Inlets and Bays

(if large enough)



(at high water)



(if large enough)


Sea Caves


Grey Seal


Common Seal


Bottlenose Dolphin



Codes of practice

Tidelines, 1997 Available from the Royal Yachting Association

Navigate with Nature, 1998 Available from the British Marine Industries Federation

Managing Personal Watercraft a guide for local and harbour authorities, 1998 Available from the Royal Yachting Association

National representative body

There is no governing body for informal activities, although the RYA provides training opportunities and welcomes membership from PW users, and affiliation by PW clubs.


Royal Yachting Association

RYA House

Romsey Road


Hants SO50 9YA

Tel: 01703 627400


Royal Yachting Association Scotland

Caledonia House

South Gyle

Edinburgh EH12 9DQ

Royal Yachting Association

N. Ireland

Northern Ireland Sports Council

Upper Malone Road

Belfast BT9 5LA

Welsh Yachting Association

4, Llys Y Mor

Plas Menai


LL55 1UE


Characteristics of aactivity and mangement issues assocaited with personal watercraft

Summary of potential environmental impacts associated with personal watercraft


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