How Old Do You Have to Be to Drive a Jetski?

by | Last updated Jul 1, 2024

how old do you have to be to drive a jetski

To drive a jet ski, you need to meet specific age requirements.

It can vary depending on where you’re planning to ride. This rule ensures everyone on the water is having a blast while staying safe.

So, before you think about speeding over the waves, let’s dive into how old do you have to be to drive a jetski.


The minimum age to drive a jet ski varies by location, typically from 14 to 16.

Younger children can ride with adults, and rental age requirements usually align with local laws.

Specialized safety courses for jet ski operators are available to ensure safe and responsible riding.

Jet Ski Age Requirements

So, why do we even have age limits for jet skiing?

Well, it’s all about safety. Riding jet skis can be risky if you’re not ready or don’t know the rules.

And these rules aren’t the same everywhere; they change depending on where you are. But don’t worry, we’ll help you figure it out.

Driving a JetSki

Age Requirements in Various Locations

United States

In the US, each state makes its own rules about jet ski age limits. For example:

StateMinimum Age
New Hampshire16
New Jersey16
New Mexico13
New York14
North Carolina14
North Dakota12
Rhode Island16
South Carolina16
South Dakota14
West Virginia15
Source: J D Power

No matter where you are, you’ll probably need to pass a boating course and get a boating safety course certificate. It’s like getting a mini driver’s license for the water.


Over in Canada, the rule is pretty simple. You must be at least 16 years old and have a Pleasure Craft Operator Card to hop on a jet ski.


Australia likes to keep things interesting with different rules in different places.

But generally, you’ll need to be over a certain age (it varies) and might need a boating license to start jet skiing.


Europe is a prominent place with lots of different rules.

There’s no set minimum age in the UK, but you need to be responsible. Meanwhile, France asks you to be at least 16.

Like many other places, Europe cares a lot about boating safety, so expect some tests or courses.

Why Age Matters

You might be thinking, “Why all the fuss about age?”

Being older usually means you’re more likely to know how to handle yourself and the jet ski in tricky situations.

Studies show that sticking to these age restrictions helps keep kids ride safer on the water.

Driving a JetSki

The Path to Legality: Licenses and Courses

If you’re young and dreaming of jet skiing, you’ll likely need to take a boating safety course first.

This course teaches you all about riding safely and the rules of the water.

Once you pass, you get a boating safety course certificate, known as a jet ski license, and your ticket to the water.

Guidance for Young Jet Ski Enthusiasts

For those not old enough yet, don’t worry; you can still prepare for the thrill of jet skiing by:

Driving a Jetski

1. Always wearing a life jacket.

2. Riding with an adult if you’re under the required age.

3. Practicing safe habits on the water from a young age.

Age Considerations while Renting a Jet Ski

Are you thinking of renting a jetski?

Rental places also have rules. They’ll check your age and ensure you know the basics of jet skiing safety.

This is to keep everyone safe and sound while having fun.


Knowing how old you must be to drive a jet ski is critical to safely enjoying this fantastic water sport.

Driving a JetSki

Always check the age requirements where you plan to ride and ensure you’re all set with needed courses or licenses.

Following the rules ensures you and everyone else have fun times on the water.

Do you have questions or your own jet skiing stories? Could you share them in the comments? Let’s make sure everyone enjoys jet skiing the right way.

Frequently Asked Questions

How old do you have to be to drive a jetski?

The lowest age to drive a jet ski varies by location, but generally, you must be at least 14 to 16 years of age in most places.
Always check the laws in your area or the place where you plan to ride jet skis.

Are boating education or safety courses always required for jet ski operators?

Yes, most regions require jet ski operators to get a boating safety course and obtain a boating safety course certificate, especially if you’re under a certain age.
This ensures you understand safety precautions and local regulations.

Can younger children ride jet skis with adults?

In many locations, younger children can ride jet skis as passengers with an adult who meets the minimum age requirement and has completed any necessary safety courses.

What is the minimum age for jet ski rentals?

The minimum age limit for jet ski rentals typically mirrors local regulations for jet ski operators, often set at 16 to 18.
Rental companies also require proof of age and a boating safety course certificate.

Are there safety courses specifically for jet ski operators?

While many boating safety courses cover a range of personal watercraft, there are also safety courses explicitly tailored for jet ski operators.
These focus on the specific knowledge and skills needed to operate jet skis safely.

Fahim Joharder

Fahim Joharder


An avid kayaker & fisherman, explores waterways globally, sharing his passion for water sports and conservation through captivating stories and tips.

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