Scouting Forums

PWC use at the Unit level

Recently, our Ship was going to rent jet-skis for a fun-meeting. Years ago, PWCs were a craze in the Scout community.
Now, reviewing the Guide to Safe Scouting, #13 does not authorize them. Safety Afloat seems to have the same, and, the National Outdoor Riding Award reinforces not authorized for Unit use, but, Council use. Pg 74 of the Sea Scout manual for Safety Afloat reiterates the same.

Saying PWCs are not authorized does not sound like they are prohibited.
What is the policy for Sea Scouts regarding PWC usage at the Unit level?
Are PWCs prohibited?
Does “not authorized” mean BSA insurance cannot be used should an incident occur?


Talk to your district / council for clarification, but my understanding is that the Guide to Safe Scouting is saying that motorized personal watercraft (PWC) are prohibited at the unit level (pack / troop / crew / ship) as part of the Scouting program.

Unauthorized and Restricted Activities
The following activities have been declared unauthorized and restricted by the Boy Scouts of America:

  1. Motorized personal watercraft (PWC), such as Jet-Skis®, are not authorized for use in Scouting aquatics, and their use should not be permitted in or near BSA program areas. The exception is council-approved PWC programs. They are not approved for unit use.

Jennifer is correct. “Not authorized” means “thou shalt not”. At this time PWCs can only be used at council activities and then only with considerable approval paperwork. Effectively this means that a few councils are able to offer PWCs as a summer camp option, but that otherwise, they cannot be used in Scouting.

Consider renting stand up paddleboards instead. Those are legal as long as you follow safety afloat rules (mainly, wear the lifejackets rather than leaving them on the boards), and our youth think they are at least as much fun.

Thanks for the reply, and, clarification of “not authorized”.
Some people may have the thought of “Ask for forgiveness instead of permission”, but, I don’t, especially when minors are involved, even if they are mature teenagers.

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I agree. That is horrible approach when it comes to youth safety.

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I just wish more people would do what Eugene did and read the G2SS to see what’s allowed. Thanks for being a responsible leader.

Useful BSA safety references

Will surfers be required to wear lifejackets now, since SUPs have come along, and paddlers are required to wear lifejackets?

Of course we will support the BSA rules, but equipment and techniques have changed faster than the rules have kept up.

Jet skis are used for surf and ocean rescue now for swimmers and surfers.

They are useful in sailing programs, enabling coaches to quickly move from student to student.

They have no propellers, making them far safer than tenders with outboard motors, maneuvering around swimmers.

They are less expensive to purchase and operate than larger tenders, and require less storage space.

They are also fun!

Jet skis are currently used at Fiesta Island in San Diego, according to reports, with success.

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