What is a Personal Watercraft (PWC)?
36 CFR §1.4 - Personal watercraft refers to a vessel, usually less than 16 feet in length, which uses an inboard, internal combustion engine powering a water jet pump as its primary source of propulsion. The vessel is intended to be operated by a person or persons sitting, standing or kneeling on the vessel, rather than within the confines of the hull.
The length is measured from end to end over the deck excluding sheer, meaning a straight line measurement of the overall length from the foremost part of the vessel to the aftermost part of the vessel, measured parallel to the centerline. Bowsprits, bumpkins, rudders, outboard motor brackets and similar fittings or attachments, are not included in the measurement. Length is stated in feet and inches.
Regarding Personal Watercraft 2-stroke v. 4-stroke Engines
This rule only applies to personal watercrafts. Regular boats do not apply.
According to the Code of Federal Regulations Title 36, 7.70(e)(3): After December 31, 2012, no one may operate a personal watercraft (PWC) that does not meet the 2006 emission standards set by EPA for the manufacturing of two-stroke engines. A person operating a PWC that meets the EPA 2006 emission standards through the use of direct injection two-stroke or four-stroke engines, or the equivalent thereof, is not subject to this prohibition and will be allowed to operate as described in this section.
This rule is a part of the 2003 Record of Decision for the Environmental Impact Statement for PWC Rule-making in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area to reduce water and noise pollution.
There was a ten year delay of implementation of this rule to allow PWC owners time to transition. The rule was announced in 2003 and became effective January 1, 2013.
Can I modify my engine?
The regulation requires a person operating a personal watercraft to meet the EPA 2006 emission standards through the use of direct-injection two-stroke or four-stroke engines, or the equivalent thereof.
I have an oil injected two stroke. Is that the same as a direct injection two stroke?
No. Oil injected two-strokes are still carbureted and require a fuel-oil mixture to enter the combustion chamber. Direct injection two strokes are not carbureted and fuel and oil are not mixed.
How do I know if my PWC is compliant?
Look at your PWC engine. Engines that meet the regulation should have an emission control information label that clearly states that they conform to 2006 or later clean emissions standards.
The following information has been provided to Glen Canyon National Recreation Area by PWC manufacturers. If your vessel is not listed below and you do not know whether your vessel meets the 2006 EPA emission standards for two-stroke engines, please contact the engine manufacturer or servicing mechanic.
How will park rangers determine if my engine isn't compliant?
Park rangers will take into account operator knowledge, the model of the vessel, the engine type, and whether it's carbureted when determining compliance with the regulation. If you do not know whether your vessel meets the 2006 EPA emission standards for two-stroke engines, please contact your manufacturer or mechanic for this information.
Where Else Can I Take My PWC?
It is best to check with federal, state, and local recreation managers for specific regulations prior to visiting a lake or river.
Last updated: March 13, 2018