Personal watercraft composite vessel

The personal watercraft (PWC) composite vessel is classed as a PWC in NSW. You need a PWC licence and registration to operate it on NSW waters.

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What is a PWC composite vessel?

The personal watercraft (PWC) composite vessel is a combination unit comprising a vessel hull and a PWC where the engine power of the composite unit is provided solely by the PWC. In NSW it is classified as a PWC both when combined as a composite unit and for each of the components when detached.

The composite unit can only be registered to, and operated by, one PWC and the separated hull is not to be combined with a PWC carrying a different registration.


A single PWC registration is required for the composite unit and the same registration number must be displayed on both the PWC and the vessel hull components. The PWC composite vessel requires a PWC licence when operating the composite unit as the vessel is still operated by a person standing or sitting astride the vessel.

Use on NSW waters

Operation in composite mode

  • Lifejackets are to be worn as per the requirements of lifejackets for vessels in NSW.
  • Safety equipment requirements for vessels are to be adhered to when operating in composite mode.
  • PWC exclusion zones apply to the vessel when operating in composite mode.
  • The vessel may be operated between the hours of sunset and sunrise provided it remains in the composite mode at all times and complies with all requirements of lighting for a vessel of its type, size and operation.

Master's responsibility for the composite when separated from the PWC

The master of the vessel is to ensure the vessel hull, when detached from the PWC, does not cause risk of collision with other vessels by either making the hull fast to the shore or ground or by indicating that it is not under command or restricted in its ability to manoeuvre as required by the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea 1972.

Operation of the PWC when separated from the composite hull

All standard PWC requirements apply e.g. lifejackets, safety equipment and PWC exclusion zones. For details, see PWC restriction zones and Lifejackets and safety equipment.

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