Personal Watercraft Rules

Outer Banks Boating Rules

Know the rules and regulations.

Jumping the waves with a jet ski can be exhilarating, but each town has rules and regulations posted concerning the use of personal watercraft. For additional information, contact individual town halls or the National Park Service. Children under age 13 must now wear a life vest while boating. The new Coast Guard boating-safety rule applies to all public waters of North Carolina. For more information on NC boating regulations, visit ncwildlife.org.

Personal Crafts

Duck - (252) 255-1234

  • Personal watercraft is prohibited on the town's ocean beaches.
  • You must go straight in and straight out within 900 feet from the sound shoreline and at a speed no faster than necessary to maintain control, but not causing a wake or exceeding 5 miles per hour, whichever is less.
  • No personal watercraft may be operated within 900 feet of the sound or ocean shoreline.
  • No person under the age of 16 years shall operate a personal watercraft.
  • Personal watercraft may be operated only during the hours of 9 a.m. - 6 p.m.

Southern Shores - (252) 261-2394

  • Town personal watercraft permit and proof personal watercraft insurance required; minimum age of 16 to operate watercraft.
  • Operation of personal watercraft is prohibited on all waters extending 200 yards into the ocean and 400 yards soundside.
  • No operation allowed sunset to sunrise.
  • Boater safety course required.

Kitty Hawk - (252) 261-3552

  • Launching engine-powered watercraft from Kitty Hawk beaches is prohibited.
  • Personal watercraft cannot be operated within 600 feet of the Atlantic Ocean beach within town of Kitty Hawk limits.

Kill Devil Hills - (252) 449-5300

  • Personal watercraft are allowed within the town of Kill Devil Hills, however, they cannot be operated within 300 feet of the shoreline (sound or ocean) or a fishing pier.

Nags Head - (252) 441-5508

  • Personal watercraft are allowed within the town of Nags Head, however, they cannot be operated within 600 feet of the shoreline (sound or ocean) or a fishing pier.
  • You must go straight in and straight out at a speed which will not generate or cause a wake or exceed 5 miles per hour.
  • Personal watercraft may be launched only at permitted sites within the town. No motorized watercrafts are allowed at the Danube Street Sound Access or Jockey's Ridge State Park.

Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area - (252) 473-2111

  • Personal watercraft are prohibited from launching and landing from all accesses, land or water areas controlled by the National Park Service.
  • Operation of personal watercraft is prohibited within the boundaries of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area.

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