Personal Watercrafts, commonly known as jet skis, is a thrilling water activity in South Africa for residents and tourists alike. These small, versatile vessels feature a very powerful engine, which means high-speed sea surfing. Let’s get to know more about this sea toy in the article!

What is a personal watercraft?

Personal Watercrafts (PWC), originally called ‘Water Scooters’ are high-speed petrol-powered vessels that are used for recreational or sports activities. We can trace their origin back to the 1950s when the first water scooters were manufactured in the United Kingdom and Germany. PWCs are also called ‘Jet Skis’ commonly although it should not be confused with the brand ‘Jetski’ (by Kawasaki).

There are two types of PWCs. One that features runabout or the ‘sit down’ version. In this version, the rider sits down on the PWC. The second version features a ‘stand-up’, a less popular version of the PWC. In this version, depending on the size of your watercraft, you can accommodate two or more passengers including the rider.

PWCs have an interesting history. Give it a read on Wikipedia: Personal watercraft – Wikipedia

In South Africa, if you wish to operate a personal watercraft for any purpose, you are going to need a license. PWCs can be dangerous and if handled improperly, the experience can be fatal to yourself, to others at sea, or to marine life. You should not handle a PWC all by yourself unless you are professionally trained and licensed.

Do I need a license to operate a PWC in South Africa?

Yes, absolutely. If you are operating a vessel with an engine of 15hp or more, you will require a license. As far as South Africa is concerned, having a Skipper’s License is enough to operate a PWC. However, the training for PWC differs and we generally recommend you take it.

Related: Getting a Skipper License in South Africa

Why? Because in South Africa, having a SAMSA Skipper’s License is often sufficient. However, if you are planning to go abroad and perhaps decide to have some fun with rental PWCs, you will require an RYA PWC Proficiency certificate. If you are an international tourist with an adventurous spirit for watersports, we highly recommend you the certificate.

In South Africa, many marine institutes provide RYA certified Personal Watercraft (PWC) Proficiency Course. This is a one day course and if you are of age 12 and above, you are eligible for the course. Having a proficiency certificate in PWCs also brings you one step closer to working on a superyacht.

The PWC Proficiency Course includes: 
  • Launching and recovery
  • Confined space manoeuvring
  • Mooring the PWC
  • Man overboard procedure
  • Anchoring, Towing
  • Engine checks
  • High-speed handling
  • Collision regulations
  • Basic chart work, navigation, and tides
  • Communication afloat
  • Emergency procedures

If you already own a proficiency certificate and wish to extend that knowledge to other aspiring seamen, you can also apply for a PWC Instructor course. This course enables you to pursue an exciting career as a PWC instructor.

For more information, feel free to contact us

Renting a Personal Watercraft (PWC) in South Africa

Buying a PWC may not always be in one’s budget (“of course, look how expensive they are to own!”). So what’s the alternative to that? Getting a rental! In South Africa, you can rent a jet ski online or offline relatively easily.

Below are a few trustworthy websites from where you can get a rental PWC for your adventures.

Buying a Personal Watercraft (PWC) in South Africa

However, if you are looking forward to owning one, there are a few options for you too. After all, why rent it when you can own it and set out on your adventures anytime.

You can easily find personal watercraft listings online, brand new or second hand. Let’s explore some websites where you can get one.

Sante Racing: A PWC vendor in Johannesburg

UB Leisure: A motorbike and PWC vendor in Pretoria. You can also list your own PWC here for sale or buy a second-hand vessel. Financial options available.

Autotrader for Jet Ski listings: An online website that lists PWC sales from different vendors in South Africa an all-in-one location to find a PWC.

OLX South Africa: A peer-to-peer marketplace where South African people occasionally list their PWCs along with other items. Payment options completely depend on the seller. Some level of caution is advised.

If you require further assistance or advice on the same, feel free to give us a call and we can help you out on the same.

Bottom Line

A personal watercraft (PWC) is an option for thrilling, high-speed adventures on the seas. To operate a Personal Watercraft legally in South Africa, you will require a Skippers license and a PWC Proficiency Certificate. Sail and Power SA can help you with that. We have a highly skilled and proficient team ready to give you all the necessary lessons to prepare you for the adventure. For more information contact us or visit our PWC Proficiency course page.