Hawaii PWC Insurance

Find the right pwc insurance policy for you.

Written by Steve Dahl
Written by Steve Dahl

Steve is a financial services expert who has dedicated himself to the insurance industry for the last 5+ years. Steve is a key contributor to TrustedChoice.com.


The Hawaiian Islands are surrounded by water, so it is little wonder that so many own boats and water gear. Over the past two decades, the popularity of personal watercraft has increased dramatically in this state and it is now common to see people enjoying time on the water using these vessels just about everywhere you look. Although PWC insurance coverage is not required by the state, many who enjoy this pastime find it to be a worthwhile investment. If you are considering purchasing a policy, it is a good idea to ensure that you are not paying too much by comparing quotes for PWC insurance in Hawaii before you make a selection.

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Hawaii Boat and Personal Watercraft Facts

  • In 2011, there were 13,375 registered boats, including PWCs, in Hawaii.
  • Of these, approximately 10% were personal watercraft.
  • Number of boating accidents recorded in 2011: 17
  • Approximately 20% of all boating accidents in Hawaii involved PWCs.
  • Number of recorded boat and PWC-related injuries: 6
  • Number of boat and PWC-related fatalities: 1
  • Number of boat and PWC-related accidents involving property damage only: 10
  • Cost of boat and PWC-related accidents in HI in 2011: $1,857,400
  • This averages to about $109,260 per accident.

Hawaii State Laws Pertaining to PWC Operation

Laws and regulations pertaining to PWC use in the state of HI are enforced by the Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation. Requirements include the following:

  • All boats and PWCs must be registered with the state on an annual basis.
  • To operate a PWC, you must have a Boater Education Card, which can be obtained upon successful completion of a state-approved boater safety course.
  • It is illegal for anyone under the age of 15 to operate a PWC.
  • Every person on board the PWC must wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved personal floatation device.
  • If the PWC is equipped with an engine cut-off lanyard, it must be attached to the operator's body or clothing at all times while on the water.
  • PWCs may only operate in specifically assigned locations within Designated Oceans Recreation Managements Areas.
  • When operating a PWC within a Non-Designated Ocean Recreation Management Area, the vessel must remain between 500 feet from the shoreline and two miles offshore.
  • Vessels must maintain a slow, no-wake speed when within 200 feet of any shoreline, float, dock, launch ramp, congested beach, swimmers, diver’s flag, or anchored vessel.
  • It is illegal to:
    • Jump the wake of another vessel while on your PWC
    • Operate your PWC within a marine life conservation district or marine natural area reserve
    • Operate your PWC within designated Humpback whale protected waters
    • Operate a PWC with a blood alcohol level that exceeds 0.08%

PWC insurance is not mandatory unless your vessel is moored in DLNR/DOBOR facilities, including harbors and off-shore moorings. In that case, a minimum of $500,000 in liability insurance is required.

There are compelling reasons to carry PWC insurance. If you moor your vessel in a DLNS/DOBOR facility, you will need to carry at least $500,000 in liability coverage, but you are not required to carry any other of the PWC insurance options. PWC insurance can be extremely useful to have. Not only can it protect you from liability charges if you are responsible for a boating accident, it can also protect the investment you have made in your personal watercraft.

What Types of Watercraft Are Covered by PWC Insurance?

PWCs are recreational watercraft on which the operator sits or stands on, rather than sits in, as in a traditional boat. This type of watercraft is propelled by an inboard engine that drives a pump jet with a screw-shaped impeller which creates thrust and enables steering.

Many different types of personal watercraft can be covered by PWC insurance. Whether you own a stand-up model such as a Kawasaki Jet Ski®, a sit-down model such as a Bombardier Sea-Doo®, or a multi-person craft such as a Yamaha WaveRunner®, a PWC insurance policy can provide you with the coverage you need to protect your finances and the investment you have made in your vessel while you are out on the water.

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What Does a PWC Insurance Policy Cover?

PWC insurance policies in Hawaii may include a number of coverage options. That way, you can build a policy that covers your vessel as you see fit. Your PWC insurance policy may include the following types of coverage:

  • Liability insurance: You will need this coverage if you are responsible for injuries or property damage to a third party as the result of an accident while using your PWC.
  • Medical payments insurance: You will need this coverage if you or your passengers are injured in a PWC accident, regardless of fault.
  • Collision insurance: You will need this coverage if your PWC is damaged in a collision, regardless of fault.
  • Comprehensive insurance: You will need this coverage if your PWC is damaged by a non-collision-related covered event such as fire, falling objects, vandalism or theft.
  • Uninsured and underinsured boater insurance: You will need this coverage if a third party is responsible for damage to your PWC or injuries to you and your passengers but lacks the appropriate insurance coverage to compensate you for your losses.
  • Wreckage removal insurance: You will need this if you are responsible for a boating accident while using your PWC and it is necessary to clean up wreckage or fuel spills.
  • In-water towing and assistance insurance: You will need this coverage if your PWC becomes disabled while you are out on the water and you need assistance to bring it back to shore.
  • Trailer insurance: You will need this coverage if your trailer is not covered by any other insurance policy and you want coverage in the event that it is damaged or causes damage or injuries to others.

Compare PWC Insurance Quotes in Hawaii

The only way to be certain that you are getting your PWC insurance policy at a great rate is by comparison shopping before making a purchase. A local agent in the Trusted Choice® network may be able to help you save both time and money by gathering a variety of policies and rate quotes for you. These independent insurance agents can also assist you by answering your insurance-related questions and helping you compare policies from different insurance companies.

Contact a Trusted Choice agent with an office in or near your Hawaii neighborhood to learn more. You can start comparing quotes for policies that are right for you in no time.

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