Skip to main content

Volunteering at Scouts is changing to help us reach more young people

Volunteering is changing to help us reach more young people

Volunteering is changing at Scouts. Read more

Discover what this means

Personal Watercraft (Jet Ski)


(Published December 2013, last reviewed with no updated 2018)

What is personal watercraft?

Personal watercraft (PWC) are lightweight motorised craft designed to be sat or stood on. These craft are propelled by water jets and are often referred to a jet skis.

What is a personal watercraft permit?

The adventurous activity permit scheme is designed to ensure that only people with the relevant skills and experience lead adventurous activities for the young people. Therefore all activities classed as adventurous can only be lead by someone holding the appropriate permit.

Additionally young people (under 18) can take part in adventurous activities for themselves with personal activity permits. A personal watercraft permit is required for all personal watercraft activity taking place in any class of water.

Levels of permit

Personal watercraft permits can be issued for any class of water. Each class of permit can be further restricted (such as through non-tidal etc) to end up with an individual permit to the level of the competence and requirements of any person.

Types of permit

There are three types of permit available for personal watercraft. These are:

Personal – Allows a young person (under 18) to take part in PWC activities with others with a personal PWC permit.

Leadership – Allows the permit holder to lead PWC activities for a single group.

Supervisory – Allows the permit holder to remotely supervise PWC activities for more than one group.

Permit limitations

Personal – If you hold a personal PWC permit you can take part in PWC activities with others who hold a personal PWC permit. It does not allow you to take part in PWC activities with anyone not holding a Personal Watercraft permit.

Leadership – If you have permit to lead PWC then you can look after only one craft at a time, and need to remain on the water with this craft all the time.

Supervisory – If you hold a permit to supervise PWC then you can supervise up to three craft or six people (whichever is less). All supervised craft should be within communication range of the permit holder who will need to be in or have immediate access to a rescue craft (this may be another PWC). You remain responsible for all the craft you are supervising.


When supervising groups from a distance the holder of a personal watercraft supervisor permit needs to designate a leader for each craft (if they are multi people craft). This designation lasts only for the current activity while the permit holder is supervising.

People designated as craft leaders should have the necessary skills and be responsible enough to lead a group safely on the class of water being used. There is no problem with making young people craft leaders if they are up to the role, and it can be used as a useful development tool.

Rules relating to PWC

Rule 9.7 Adventurous Activities Permit Scheme

Rule 9.8 Adult Groups Undertaking Activities

Rule 9.13.1 All Water Activities

Rule 9.13.2 Life Jackets and Buoyancy Aids

Rule 9.13.3 Classification of Waters

Rule 9.13.4 Activities on Class C Waters

Rule 9.13.5 Boats

Rule 9.13.6 Charter Vessels

General activity rules

Rule 9.1 All Activities

Rule 9.6 Use of External Centres and Instructors