Frequently Asked Questions and Answers
PWC Hire and Drive FAQs
1. What is a Hire and Drive Personal Watercraft (PWC)?
A Hire and Drive Personal Watercraft (PWC) is a PWC that is intended to be let for hire or reward and includes, but not limited to, PWCs that are provided at holiday establishments, hotels, recreational or sports clubs.
2. How do I register my Hire and Drive PWC?
A part of the approval processes is to ensure that all Hire and Drive PWCs are registered. To register your Hire and Drive PWC you must submit an application at the maritime centre at the Free Port and pay the nominated application fees.
You must ensure that you bring:
  • A valid I.D. card,
  • the personal watercraft purchase invoice or any other document proving ownership of the same,
  • a true copy of the customs clearance certificate for personal watercrafts imported from abroad,
  • a comprehensive insurance policy for the Establishments and third party insurance for individuals valid for 13 months and issued by a licensed insurance company,
  • a certificate of successful completion of personal watercraft technical inspection,
  • a copy of the valid commercial license (if the personal watercraft is owned by a company or an establishment), and
  • any other documents or requirements deemed necessary by the Department for registration and licensing of the personal watercraft.
3. What are the operating obligations for a PWC Hire and Drive Establishment?
For the purpose of PWC rental activities, rental facilities shall abide by the following provisions:
  • Provide specialized trainer and guard to monitor the use of PWC.
  • Provide a life boat to be used for emergencies only.
  • Ensure that the PWC is used in the specified locations starting after the sunrise till the sunset.
  • Keep a copy of the facility trade license, the PWC registration cards and other relevant documents to present them upon request.
  • Prepare and keep the following records:
    • Employee log, positions and information on their identity and addresses.
    • Data and information related to the PWCs owned by the facility, especially the PWC type, model, chassis number, motor, registration number with the security entity, and insurance policy number and details.
    • Data and information related to the persons who rent PWC including, but not limited to, their names, nationalities and jobs, in addition to the date, time and period of the rental.
  • Provide the safety and protective equipments and first aids in the rental site and obligate the renters to wear life jackets and helmets to protect them.
  • Provide the PWC operators with the necessary information on how to use it and the permitted as well as restricted areas to operate a PWC.
  • No maintenance works shall be done to the PWC in the operation sites or on shores. All PWC should be transferred to the dedicated places for maintenance or workshops.
  • Prepare a “General Requirements” form for the renters to abide by and implement during the use of a PWC and request them to sign it.
  • Fulfill the requirements of fuel storage stipulated by the Civil Defense whether small oil tanks or mobile tanks.
Fix one umbrella within the facility dedicated area as per the provisions of this bylaw provided that it is removed if requested by the competent authority. Convenient number of seats should be provided for use by the PWC renters and operators.
4. What records must be kept by the PWC Hire and Drive Establishment?
All PWC Hire and Drive Establishments must ensure:
  • that written records and documentation are kept about the business,
  • to draw up and maintain the following registers:
    • one register containing the names of the establishment’s employees,
    • one register for entering the data and information related to the establishment’s PWC,
    • one register for entering the data and information related to PWC hirers including, but not limited to, their names, nationalities, ages and hire date, time and period.
  • a written record signed by the hire and drive establishment and the intended operator in the form of a hire contract, daily hire contract of a Personal Water Craft (PWC), terms and conditions of safety, registration & usage contract, is made containing the following information—
    • the date and time the PWC was hired,
    • the period for which the PWC is hired,
    • the date and time of the briefing of the operator of the PWC along with written confirmation and a signature stating that the intended operator has understood the material delivered at the briefing, and undertakes to comply with the Regulations,
    • the full name and address of the operator, and
    • the full name of, and licenses held by, the person who gave the briefing; and
  • The hire and drive establishment must ensure a written record is made of the date and time the PWC is returned to the establishment at the end of the period for which the PWC is being operated.
 
The hire and drive establishment record must be kept for at least one year after it is made.
5. Where may PWC Hire and Drive Establishments operate their PWCs?
PWC Hire and Drive Establishments may only operate their PWCs in areas that are approved by the DoT.
 
Under some circumstances Hire and Drive PWCs are required to be operated under the direct line of sight supervision of the PWC Hire and Drive Establishment.
6. Must PWC Hire and Drive Establishments ensure that a rescue vessel is available?
All Hire and Drive Establishments must ensure that a rescue vessel is available to go to the rescue of the Hire and Drive PWC at all times while the Hire and Drive PWC is being operated within the designated area of operation.
7. What are the conditions for hiring a PWC?
Hire and Drive PWCs are available for hire at various locations throughout Abu Dhabi. To hire a PWC there are conditions of use which must be met by the intended operator which include:
  • A PWC may not be hired to anyone below the age of 18 years. If a PWC is to be hired by a person aged between 14 and 17 years, then the PWC may only be hired by their custodian.
  • If a hirer aged 14 – 17 years intends to hire a PWC, it must be hired for them by a sponsor / guardian who is aged of 18+.
  • PWC operators must be good swimmers.
  • People under the age of 14 must not operate a PWC without a specialized trainer supervising or an escort who is over the age of 18 and the PWC’s engine size shall not exceed 1200cc.
  • Operators over the age of 14 can operate a PWC of any engine size and power.
  • Operators between the ages of 14 and 17 years of age must not exceed 12 knots.
  • PWCs can only be operated during daylight hours (between sunrise and sunset).
8. What are the licensing requirements for operating a Hire and Drive PWC?
  • In the future, all operators other than those using a Hire and Drive PWC (in some cases) must be licensed to drive a PWC.
  • If a tourist to Abu Dhabi, who is aged 14 years and above, wants to hire a PWC they are not required to have a PWC operator license as long as they are escorted by a qualified escort and operating conditions are imposed on the operator by the Hire and Drive Establishment.
9. What are the obligations imposed on PWC hirers?
Before the hirer of a Hire and Drive PWC operates it, the hirer must: 
  • give the PWC Hire and Drive Establishment a written declaration stating that they have read and understood the safety obligations, safe operating distances and all other items presented during the safety briefing,
  • give the PWC Hire and Drive Establishment a written declaration stating that to the best of the operator’s knowledge, the operator has no medical condition that makes the operator unable to operate the PWC safely,
  • advise the PWC Hire and Drive Establishment of the number of persons intended to be on board the Hire and Drive PWC while it is hired, and
  • give the Hire and Drive Establishment additional information to decide the intended operator’s age, full name and address, residency, and the intended operator must sign any record for the hire contract.
PWC Usage FAQs
1. What is classified as a Personal Watercraft (also knwon as 'jet ski')?

A Personal Watercraft (PWC) can be described as a powered vessel with a fully enclosed hull that does not retain water on it if capsized. It is designed to be operated by a person standing, crouching or kneeling on it or sitting astride it, rather than within the confines of it. A PWC may also be called a water bike, jet ski, power ski,  a wave runner and can  include  other similar vessels.

2. Do I have to register my personal watercraft?
Yes, all personal watercrafts must be registered before operating it on the waters of Abu Dhabi.
3. How do I register my PWC?
To register your personal watercraft, you must visit the Department of Transport’s counter at the unified service center located at Mina Area.
 
Visit the PWC registration page on this site for more details on how to register your personal watercraft in Abu Dhabi.
4. Who will issue the registration number of the PWC?
The Department of Transport (DOT) will issue the registration number to the PWC owner. 
5. Do I need a license to drive a PWC?

You currently do not need a license to drive a PWC. However, obtaining an operator license will be mandatory to drive a PWC in the near future.

6. How can I know what is the maximum person capacity for my PWC?

You can find the load capacity by the manufacturer’s plate. This may be located at various positions on the PWC, but commonly, it would be at the rear part of the PWC, under the seat.

8. What is the required safety equipment to be worn / carried on board a PWC?
All Personal Watercraft Users must secure the following safety equipment:
 
Safety Equipment
1-A Life Jacket: of globally approved brands and capable of floating the Personal Watercraft User
2-An Engine Switch Key: tied to the Personal Watercraft User’s wrist to turn off the engine upon falling off the personal watercraft.
3-A Whistle: used to call for help or alarm others.
4- A Pair of goggles: to protect eyes from water splash.
5- A Protective Helmet: to protect the Personal Watercraft User from shocks.
 
9. Do I have to wear a safety lanyard / safety ignition cut off key when operating my PWC?
All PWC must have a safety ignition cut-off key (lanyard), which is designed to stop the engineif you fall off your PWC. The lanyard is an important safety device that must be attached to theoperator’s wrist, clothing or PFD.
10. Do any Age Restrictions apply to the use of a PWC?
No one under 14 years of age is allowed to operate a PWC without an accompanying licensed trainer or operator who is over  18 years of age (Proof of age must be carried during operation of a PWC). In any case, the motor horsepower should not exceed CC 1200.    
11. What do I need to do when preparing for a safe PWC trip?
It is important to ensure that your PWC is in good working order and is well maintained, and you must check your PWC before you leave the boat ramp, or mooring. The following checklist is to ensure that your PWC is equipped and ready to ensure you have a safe and enjoyable day out on the water.
 
 
Safety Checklist – Prior to departure
  1.  My PWC is registered and registration number is displayed correctly.
  2. I am wearing the life jacket and carrying the required safety equipment
  3. My PWC has to be serviced and maintained in accordance with the operation manual for the PWC.
  4. I have checked for any restrictions, including speed restrictions in the area I will be operating.
  5. Check the weather before you head out. Forecasts are available from the National Centre for Meteorology and Seismology at www.ncms.ae
  6. Report your trip to someone and let them know where you are going, who with and when you intend to return.
  7. In accordance with the operation manual for the PWC, I have inspected the following to ensure they are working properly:
  • Steering controls
  • Fuel and oil supplies are adequate for the journey
  • There are no leaks in fuel lines, fuel or oil tanks
  • Batteries are properly charged and secured
  • The engine cover and seats are latched securely
  • The pump intake area is free of obstructions
  • The hull is free of cracks and damage
  • The throttle to ensure that it is in working order
  • The lanyard cut-off switch is in proper working order and is attached to your wrist or life jacket
  • Ensure that the bungs are securely fixed in place

 

 

12. When can a PWC be operated?
You may only operate your PWC during daylight hours, i.e. between sunrise and sunset. Any operation of a PWC outsidethese hours will result in an offence and may incur a penalty.
13. Do you apply the laws of speed and distance? In any cases?
Personal Watercrafts users must comply with the following:
  1. Not exceeding set speed limits
  2. Avoiding travel at speeds that may cause water splash on others
  3. Considering the density of traffic in the area of operation to determine the safe speed
  4. Not driving the Personal Watercraft if weather conditions or visibility is bad
  5. Reducing speed to six (6) knots or under and keeping a safe distance as the following:
 
 
 
Sixty (60) m.
from people in the water
from any fixed or floating structure such as anchored or moored vessels, structures, boat ramps, jetties, wharves, marinas or pontoons (excluding aids to navigation where this cannot be prevented)
from the boundary of a designated swimming area
from other vessels including other Personal Watercrafts
one hundred (100) m.
from a vessel or buoy on which diver below signal (code Alpha) is displayed which is internationally represented by a white and blue flag with the letter (A) printed in English
two hundred (200) m
from the water’s edge
as determined by the Department of Transport for each bridge
when passing under the arch of a bridge
 
14. What are some considerations when steering a PWC?
The steerage for PWC is made by jet drives, which are propelled by a jet of water forced out of the back of the PWC. Directingthis jet of water steers the PWC. Jet drives use an engine to power a strong water pump, which sucks up water and forces thewater out the back to thrust the vessel forward. The throttle needs to be applied to steer (turn and manoeuvre) the craft. Thehigher the thrust, the sharper the turn; insignificant or no throttle may cause the PWC to turn slowly or not turn, while excess throttle may cause the PWC to “spin out”.
 
Collisions often occur when the operator reduces power, not realising that the craft does not turn away from the object(s)without throttle. To avoid a collision, apply power to make your PWC turn, then reduce power when you can.
15. Are there any restrictions placed on refueling my PWC?
It is important to fuel your PWC only on land as fuel is dangerous and a significant source of water pollution. The Departmentof Transport has approved PWC refuelling locations and these are stipulated on the website. When you refuel your PWC makesure you take every precaution to ensure that you do not spill the fuel. Avoid overfilling your tank and watch all vents and useany absorbent material to collect any overflow.
16. Are there areas where prohibited prevents the use of the PWC?
Boating zones may be introduced in certain areas throughout Abu Dhabi, which will place limitations on certain types ofvessels, for PWCs, or certain types of activities. Before going out to ride, check if there are any restrictions in the area that youintend on operating in.The Department of Transport published a list of restricted areas along with maps showing local- and Emirate-widesafety rules.
17. My PWC won’t start, what can I do?
All PWC owners must ensure that their PWC is kept clean. You must ensure that the hull is free of damage and growth, andthat the engine is free of any oil build-up.
 
Engine maintenance is most important. Your engine must be properly tuned and should receive regular preventativemaintenance services by a qualified PWC mechanic. It is recommended that services should occur every fifty hours or everythree months. You should refer to your PWC manufacturer’s handbook for information regarding servicing and maintenance.
18. What happens if weed or debris gets caught in the intake/impeller?
Engine cavitations may occur and they can decrease thrust. Engine cavitations may cause your engine to overheat if thecondition is not fixed. If there is any sign of this, or if your intake/impeller is clogged, return to the shore to clear.
If at sea, turn the PWC off for at least 5 seconds and then restart the engine. If the intake is still clogged, place the PWC inreverse. If it is still clogged, stop the engine, remove the engine lanyard from the stop switch, dismount and reach under thePWC to remove the obstruction from the intake grate. If this fails, assistance will be required.
Once ashore, immediately remove the lanyard, take out the intake grate to remove the foreign object. The following checklistcan be used for post-use, although all operators should refer to the PWC user manual for more details.
19. Once I return from my PWC trip, what are the post use checks that I should undertake?
  • After removing the PWC from water, start & rev engine to remove excess water from exhaust. Remove bungs and drainthe hull.
  • Hose down the PWC and trailer. Remove all sand and salt build-up, paying particular attention to the inside of the jetunit. Hose out the engine bay. Do not spray water up the air box intake.
  • Flush out the enginecooling system with fresh water.
  • Remove seating
  • Use flush fitting to hook up water to the engine. Remove safety cap and hook up flush fitting
  • Start the engine and let run until it idles smoothly
  • Turn on the water supply
  • Gently rev the engine to help it circulate the water through the exhaust system – continue for 3-5 minutes
  • Turn off water supply
  • Rev engine gently to remove water from exhaust and then shut down engine
  • Spray engine with suitable anti-corrosion
  • Leave seats and storage bucket off until engine dries out
  • Store PWC under cover
20. Are there any environmental issues I should be concerned with when operating my PWC?
NOISE
 
PWC operators should consider the environment and others who use, or live by, the water. As PWC scan be loud, it is important to try to operate these in areas where the noise will not disturb other people or wild life. Noise can be annoying, and therefore it is important to consider the effects of your activities on those surrounding you and other operators. Be considerate, particularly early in the morning and when the winds are blowing toward residential areas.
For instance, the infrequent sounds produced by PWCs have the potential to ruin peace and quiet for marine life, beach users, and potentially harm the rider’s hearing. In fact, noise generated by PWCs is in the range of 85-105 decibels (dB) per unit.
 
MARINE POLLUTION
 
It is an offence to deliberately discharge garbage, oil and chemicals into the marine environment and severe penalties apply. Everyone can help protect the marine environment by reporting marine pollution to the Department of Transport Maritime Sector.
 
ERODING AND DEGRADATION OF SHALLOW AREAS
 
PWCs are designed with the ability to access shallow waters, which can endanger remote and sensitive seashore.  It is important to avoid shallow areas (especially areas that include Mangrove Trees), as the powerful jet from the PWC has the possibility of disturbing the environment and marine wildlife.
 
The use of PWCs can have potential significant impacts on the marine environment through causing high water surface disturbance which irritates marine life that has the potential to cause the death of small fishes, damage to nesting birds, movement of spawning fishes, and obstruct the movement of marine mammals.
21. Who do you report Marine Incidents to?
All parties involved in a marine incident must report the incident as soon as practicable and by the quickest means possible,within 24 hours to the emergency number: 996.
PWC Registration FAQs
1. Where is the PWC inspected and registered ?
At the Unified Marine Permit Center. Click here to view location on the map.
2. What are the registration fees?
The registration is currently free for both individuals and companies. However, the last free day for individuals is 31December, 2013 and for companies is 31 October, 2013. After which, registration fees will apply.
3. What are the working hours at the Center?
From 8 am to 2 pm from Sunday to Thursday.
4. How long does the registration process take?
Registration procedures can be completed during the same visit if all the required documents are presented.
5.Are any PWC types exempted from registration?
All PWCs suitable for water usage should be registered
6. Can the PWC be registered without a chassis number?
Yes, with reference to its engine number.
7. Can the PWC be registered without the engine number?
Yes, with reference to its chassis number..
8. Can the PWC be registered without the engine number and the chassis number?
No, it cannot be registered without the availability of the engine number or chassis numbers.
9. Can I register the PWC without the purchase bill?
Yes, after the owner signs on the Department of transport’s PWC ownership document to prove his/her ownership of the PWC/
10. Is PWC insurance mandatory prior to registration?
Yes, a comprehensive insurance contract must be conducted for a period of 13 months.
11. Can the insurance certificate be obtained from any insurance company?
All companies registered with the insurance authority are suitable.
12. Are the Dubai-registered PWCs required to register in Abu Dhabi?
If the owner is a resident in Dubai, the Dubai registration would suffice.
13. Are there any age restrictions for PWC registration?
Yes, a PWC owner must be 18 years old or above to register the PWC in his/her name.
14. What does the owner do in case the registration number is ruined or lost?
The PWC owner can obtain a replacement number from DoT’s counter at the Unified Marine Permit Center after paying the required fees.
15. Do I also need to register the race PWC that can be attached to a boat?
Registration is obligatory for all PWCs.
16. Do I need to bring my PWC to the unified service center to register it?
Yes, as the PWC must go through technical inspection before completing the registration process.
17. Where are the prohibited areas located?
Click here to view the locations of prohibited areas.
18. What are the consequences of operating a non-registered PWC ?
The owner will be fined as per the set list of violations. The registration grace period is due 31/10/2013 for companies and 31/12/2013 for individuals.
19. How much would the fine be?
The first fine is AED 500 for individuals and AED 1000 for companies. It shall be doubled the second time it is issued in accordance with the regulations governing the usage of PWCS (Jet Skis).