USCG Imposes New Small Craft Minimum Visibility Requirements

It’s no fun when politics start mandating what we can do in our spare time. As per an article published in National Maritime News late last month, officials within the United States Coast Guard petitioned an addendum to its USCG Minimum Requirements for Small Craft and Recreational Vessels (33 CFR 175.102) requiring that all small recreational craft (ie. personal watercraft, jet ski, etc.) be fitted at all times with a “functioning vertical sprayer providing increased visibility, alerting boaters of the vessel’s presence.”

Per the article, this new addendum is scheduled to be activated January 1st, 2020, and is required equipment for all new and “currently operational vehicles.” Although Yamaha WaveRunners are the only units currently sold with such “visibility spouts” – and have been since 1986 – this new requirement will force OE manufacturers Kawasaki and Sea-Doo to quickly develop their own form of the cautionary sprayer spout – although, we’ve heard both companies’ lawyers and the American Watercraft Association are already battling the new law.

The biggest blow will come to the recreational watercraft enthusiasts, who will be forced to retrofit a sprayer to their watercraft or face a fine similar to riding without registration numbers or tags (that is, in the states who choose to enforce the new law) – and fine that averages nationally about $225 per offense. Although many Yamaha owners choose to disconnect their factory visibility spouts, thankfully reconnecting them isn’t too difficult.

All of the current USCG regulations can be found at, with 33 CFR 175.102 being added shortly, once finally ratified. For more information, please make sure to read the full article HERE.

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Kevin Shaw

Kevin Shaw

Editor-in-Chief – Kevin Shaw is a decade-long powersports and automotive journalist whose love for things that go too fast has led him to launching The Watercraft Journal. Almost always found with stained hands and dirt under his fingernails, Kevin has an eye for the technical while keeping a eye out for beautiful photography and a great story.

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