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Clamp Down on Safety for Personal Watercraft in France

Jet ski public domain 140

Reports have been circulating about a number of yachts in French waters having been stopped by the Gendarmerie Maritime for not having lights fitted to the buoyancy aids used by guests operating personal watercraft (PWCs). 

French regulations around PWCs are particularly strict, partly due to a number of reported safety incidents as well as a fatal accident back in July 2014.

You can view the regulations in French here and a summary of the main points in English are as follows:


Motorized vessels under 4m in length, manouevered by one or several people, seated, standing or kneeling.

Limits of Navigation:

Motorized PWCs designed for at least two people can navigate up to 6 nm from shelter (unassisted disembarkation), while others are limited to 2 nm.

Conditions of Navigation:

1 50N buoyancy aid per person 
1 fitted water-activated light with a mimimum of six hours of autonomous charge

In additon, within the coastal zone of 300m from shore, speeds must not exceed 5 knots.

Superyacht PWC provides information on a lifejacket light meeting French regulations and a country by country guide on jet ski regulations.

*Image credit: Public domain CC.0

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