Texas Water Safety Act — It’s the Law!

Did You KnowWhether out for a quick run on a jet ski or spending the entire day on your watercraft … you need to know and observe water safety rules and laws! Not the least of which are the following:

  • Persons born on or after September 1, 1993 must complete a NASBLA approved Boater Education Course to legally operate a personal watercraft*, a motorboat with a manufacturer’s horsepower rating over 15 horsepower, or a windblown vessel over 14 ft. in length.

*A personal watercraft (PWC) is defined as a type of motorboat which is specifically designed to be operated by a person or persons sitting, standing, or kneeling ON the vessel rather than INSIDE the vessel. The term PWC includes jet skis, wet bikes, etc. Any person being towed by a PWC is considered an occupant of the PWC, and is required to wear a life jacket.

  • Persons under 13 years of age must wear a wearable personal flotation device while on any vessel under 26 ft. in length while the vessel is underway.
  • It is a violation for an operator of a vessel under 26 ft. in length to allow a person under 13 years of age onboard the vessel without wearing a wearable personal flotation devices.
  • Requires a wearable personal flotation device for each person onboard a kayak or any other paddle craft*.

*Operating Vessels without Required Equipment is Prohibited – No person may operate or give permission for the operation of a vessel that is not provided with the required safety equipment. An operator may not permit a person under the age of 13 to be on board the vessel while the vessel is underway if the person is not wearing a USCG approved wearable PFD. Marine enforcement officers regularly perform vessel safety checks to ensure the safety of boat owners and passengers.

  • Requires one Type IV throwable device on any vessel over 16 ft. in length, except for canoes or kayaks.
  • All vessels including motorboats, sailboats, canoes, kayaks, punts, rowboats, rubber rafts, or other vessels when not at dock must have and exhibit at least one bright light, lantern or flashlight visible all around the horizon from sunset to sunrise in all weather and during restricted visibility.