The Malta Independent 16 July 2020, Thursday

No boating licence requirement for people renting jet skis

Rebekah Cilia Wednesday, 2 May 2018, 15:17 Last update: about 3 years ago

Several people on a boating social media group have complained that people who rent jet skis are reckless and uninformed with regards to regulations of the sea. It was noted how, in a recent incident, one person was driving close to shore when the jet ski crashed straight into a speedboat with people on it.

When contacted, Transport Malta noted that although water sports operators require a valid water sports operator licence and a valid insurance covering self-drive rentals, the people actually renting the jet skis do not necessarily have to have a nautical licence.


The need for a nautical license would depend on the conditions stipulated in the operator license and the insurance but it transpires that, generally, a nautical licence is not requested.

Furthermore most operators actually advertise that no such licence is required.

Whilst a person renting a jet ski needs to be at least 18 years of age, a driver’s license is not required.

The same applies for rental boats, with some operators advertising rental of self-drive boats up to 115HP.The licensed water sports operators must however hold an instructor’s nautical licence and provide verbal, practical and printed safety information.

Life vests are also required to be worn.

It seems that the rules are a bit different when it comes to private owners. While one does not need a boat licence just to own a jet ski, a boat licence is needed by anyone driving the jet ski if the engine is over 30HP, which is generally the case with jet skis, including rental craft.

This means that while privately owned craft that are above the 30HP threshold require a boating licence to be driven, the same does not apply to rental craft with the same power levels.

TM also explained that a jet ski driver has to respect speed limits in terms of the regulation which require restrictions to 10 knots when in a port, or close to shore. A rental jet ski is also only permitted to navigate up to one nautical mile from the coast.

Several accidents involving jet skis have occurred over the years, highlighting the lack of regulations governing rental of these vehicles. Most of these accidents involved foreign nationals.

People caught without a nautical licence when one is required will be fined €500.


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