Regulations of Personal Watercrafts

Electric Surfboards and Hydrofoils (aka jet-powered surfboards/e-surfboards and hydrofoils/ehydrofoils) are essentially surfboards or body boards with an electric motor or a hydrofoil attached to the underside of the board to assist a rider with propulsion. This greatly enhances the ability of a rider to travel further distances and at faster speeds than a traditional surfboard rider.

There is a significant amount of variation regarding how the different States and Territories regulates these products, and there is no uniform law. There will be different disclosure requirements based on the relevant jurisdiction.

Panmi makes no warranty as to the currency of the information provided herein; the information provided is general in nature and cannot be considered legal advice.

State/TerritoryRegistrationLicence to OperateExclusion/Restriction ZonesRules and Restrictions
New South WalesRegistration of PWCs required by persons 16 years or older.

Electric surfboards must be registered as PWC.

Hydrofoils require registration (not necessarily as a PWC).

Proof of Vessel Acquisition and Identity required.
Licence required to operate.

Personal Watercraft Licence required for jet powered surfboard, and hydrofoil (if registered as PWC).

General Boating Licence required for Hydrofoil between 10-25 knots (if exempt from PWC requirements).
PWCs may be operated in Restricted Zones, however users must comply with specific rules in the zone (i.e. no irregular driving near shore etc).

PWCs may not be operated in Prohibited and Exclusion Zones.
Hydrofoils may operate up to 25 knots, however up to 30 knots it must be registered as a PWC (these differences may require different licences to operate).
VictoriaPWC must be registered with VicRoads by someone 14 years and older.
Licence with PWC endorsement required to operated PWC.

Age: 16 years to get PWC

Tests: Eyesight test, Marine Licence Knowledge Test, PWC Endorsement Test.
PWCs prohibited from ‘Swimming Only’ zones.
QueenslandPWC must be registered as‘recreational boats’.

HIN not mandatory,however strongly recommended to assist in recovery in event of theft.
PWC licence and Recreational marine driver licence required to operate PWC.PWC users must comply with rules in Restricted Areas and Exclusion Zones.Users must wear a life vest, and carry other safety equipment, such as a small radio beacon and floating torch.

Beyond smooth waters, users must bring things such as anchors, however we assume jet-powered surfboards have shorter range.
TasmaniaPWC must be registered with MAST IF the machinery that propels the motor boat exceeds a rating of 2.9kW (4 H.P.).

After Registration, affix registration number, MAST Capacity sticker and Safe Operation Sticker to the PWC according to requirements.
Motor Boat/Provisional licence and PWC endorsement required if PWC exceeds 2.9 kW. Both licences are obtained by completing a Boat Safe Practical Course with an Accredited Provider.

Provisional Licence is for individuals aged 12-17.

PWC Endorsement obtained through by completing a PWC Practical Course with Surf Life Saving Tasmania or BoatBiz.

PWCS must comply with specific rules of Zones (e.g. no‘freestyling’ (erratic driving)within 200m of a swimmer or shore if a house is within 100m of that shoreline).

Many zones have a 5-knot speed limit (listed in By-Laws Sch 3).

PWCs must not be operated in Prohibited Zones (listed in Bylaws Sch 2)
Maximum speed of 5 knots when within 60m of shore, wharf, jetty or another boat;
120m of another swimmer.

Operators between 12-17 must be supervised and cannot exceed 20 knots.

Must wear life jacket.

No registration required for
“pleasure crafts” and
“recreational vessels”. We understand these terms to be the equivalent of PWCs.

HINS are recommended.
No licence required to operate.Exclusions are in operation and users must observe these areas.No general speed limit on the PWC imposed, however users must abide by speed restrictions in certain areas for safety.

Life vests and safety cut-off required.
PWCs will need to be registered before they are used.

WA Department appears to indicate that PWCs are steered with handlebars, however it is better to be cautious and register a jet powered surfboard as a PWC unless not required.

HIN are compulsory.
Licence is required, aka Recreational Skipper’s Ticket(RST).

Minimum age is 14.

RST not required if PWC or electric hydrofoil is less than 6hp (4.5kW)
Younger users aged 14-16 must not operate above 8 knots, and must operate during daylight hours.

PWCs are prohibited from Swan River Marine Parks and North of Windan Bridge.
PWCs and electric hydrofoils are exempt from certain safety equipment requirements due to practicality issues.

However,life jackets are required (Level 50 or Level 50 s), and distress signals such as flares are required beyond 400 m from shore.

Comply with Maximum posted speed signs, and comply with rules regard freestyling.
South Australiaa Registration required, and PWCs are treated in the same fashion as motorboats.

Boat Code is mandatory.
Boat Operator’s Licence is required.

Minimum age to obtain the licence is 16 years, however a special permit can be obtained for users between 12-16, if there is a licensed adult to directly supervise their use.
PWCs may be used between 8am to 8pm (Sunday is 9am to 8pm). On the River Murray, times are sunrise to sunset.

PWCs prohibited from Encounter Bay and Victor Habor between 1 May and 30 September, as this is when whales migrate.

Approval from CE or DIT required if operating beyond 2 nautical miles of mainland short or Kangaroo Island, or in Lakes Albert and Alexandrina. Specific rules apply when riding in a river or channel.
A lifejacket is required (Type 2 or Type 3). PWC users cannot use a Type 1 lifejacket.

Other safety features are recommended but not required.A PWC must have a PWC Ride Smart sticker affixed.

4 knot speed limit on the River Murray and in other circumstances (e.g. near others).
Capital Territory
PWC must be registered in another State or Territory.A licence must be issued by another State or Territory (best to be the same as the jurisdiction where the PWC is registered).There are certain lakes where power boats and PWCs are prohibited.Users must abide by power boat rules (e.g. right of way rules etc).