Buying a jet ski is like buying a car, but how far does the comparison stretch? Does jet ski ownership come with a title?
Whether or not your jet ski requires a title depends on where you are in the world, sometimes down the individual state regulations. Many states in America require full registration and titling, whereas others only need registration if they’re a larger boat and not a PWC.
Read on to learn more about the requirements behind jet ski ownership.
They might be designated as vehicles of excitement and exhilaration, but a jet ski is still bound by rules and regulations. There are laws in place that are aimed at preventing accidents and inexperienced riders boarding powerful jet skis.
However, there are obvious limitations to these laws. Firstly, they’re hard to police, as a constant authoritative presence at every body of water in the world isn’t possible.
Secondly, they’re tough to monitor, as a group of people having fun with a jet ski isn’t all that likely to be fiercely apprehended by police. Although, it has happened, and people have been fined or had their vessels confiscated in tough situations.
It depends heavily on the state you’re in, but some locations have stricter requirements than others. For example, if you live in Wisconsin, you’re not obligated to obtain a title for your PWC, but you must officially register it.
Any motorized vessels used ‘on waters of the state’ in Wisconsin are required to register with the government. However, vessels under sixteen feet in length are not required to be titled.
Some of the largest jet skis can reach around twelve feet in length, so even they are not subject to titling.
Although, if you lived in Pennsylvania and purchased the exact same jet ski, you’d need to title it. The laws here state that if a vessel is powered by an inboard motor (including PWCs), they must be titled.
They explain the law explicitly: registration and titling are required, but they’re not one and the same. Registration officially registers the vehicle with the state, but titling proves ownership of the vessel itself.
The registration for a vessel will need to be resubmitted every two years, but the title lasts as long as the vessel is owned.
There are similar laws in place in Ohio, wherein any watercraft less than 14 feet in length with a permanently attached motor must be titled. However, the watercraft must boast at least ten horsepower to qualify for titling.
Similar to the above, the state of Connecticut requires that all personal watercraft, like jet skis, are registered ‘in the same manner as boats’.
Michigan follows a slightly different ruling, stating that any watercraft with a permanently fixed engine, regardless of length, should be titled.
While not legal titling, there are those who bestow names upon their personal watercrafts. This is often seen as a sentimental thing, as it’s not at all required or necessary.
It’s typically the high-end vessels that are named, but this aspect isn’t included in any registration or titling documents.
The trend originates from the traditional naming of boats and ships, which has occurred for hundreds of years. Although, there are some that might see it as a little pretentious, as a jet ski is little more than a toy for a lot of people.
On jet ski and personal watercraft forums around the world, people discuss the notion of naming their jet skis. It’s more common than you might think, with the majority of people having a decal or stenciled lettering on the vessel.
As with many sports and outdoor pursuits, there are those who’ll take it a step further than the norm. Some aficionados boast huge collections, formidable sounding names, and expensive, lavish equipment for their PWC activities.
After all, the cost of owning a jet ski is no small thing, and it can often be a considerable investment. The outright purchase of a high-end jet ski can cost as much as twenty-thousand dollars.
Annual ownership of a jet ski can be as much as fifteen-hundred to two-thousand dollars. This is taking into consideration maintenance, fuel, insurance, taxes, and storage.
We discussed the costs associated with jet ski ownership in a previous article. It’s another area in which jet skis can be compared to cars.