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Everything You Need to Know to Rent a Jet Ski in Key West

Posted on: August 31st , 2023 | Activities
Everything You Need to Know to Rent a Jet Ski in Key West

Waverunners and Jet Skis were made for those who love to travel at high speeds and explore the open water. Not sure what the rules are in Florida for renting personal watercraft (PWC)? Let us be your guide. Read on for everything you need to know to rent a Jet Ski in Key West, plus where to find the best deals on the island.

How Old do you Have to be to Drive and Rent a Jet Ski in Key West?

You must be 18 or older to rent a PWC, though age requirements differ when it comes to driving one. Children as young as 14 are permitted to operate a PWC, but most rental companies require that the child is accompanied by an adult. Best to check with your preferred rental company ahead of time for age requirements.

Key West Boating License and Certification

You DO need a boating license or at least a temporary boating certification to operate any personal watercraft.

Florida residents: Florida law requires anyone who was born on or after Jan. 1, 1988 to successfully complete an approved Boating Safety Course and obtain a Florida Boating Safety Education ID Card issued by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC).

Out-of-state visitors: If you have proof that you’ve successfully completed a Boater Safety Course or an equivalent exam that meets or exceeds Florida's requirements, you do not need to have a Florida Boating Safety Education ID Card, according to the FWC.

Temporary boating certificate: Many watersport vendors make it easy and offer a temporary boating certificate which can be acquired just before your Key West Jet Ski rental. The license is good for a year and the open-book exam is typically offered an hour before your rental.


Respecting Wildlife and Fellow Boaters

The FWC has some helpful tips for boaters, especially for those who aren’t familiar with the habitats of the Florida waters. Here are some highlights:

-Avoid boating over seagrass beds and shallow areas and stay in deep-water channels whenever possible to avoid wildlife. Manatees are often found in shallow, slow-moving rivers, estuaries, lagoons, and coastal areas. Dolphins and whales can be found in deep water, although they are very comfortable near the coast.

-If you spot wildlife nearby like marine mammals, seabirds, or sea turtles (look for a snout, back, tail, or flipper), cut your motor if needed and remain a safe distance away - 50 feet is the suggested minimum.

-Always obey posted speed zones for the safety of yourself, others, and wildlife.

-Be aware of your surroundings at all times and maintain 360-degree awareness while operating your Jet Ski.

-Wear polarized sunglasses to cut through the glare on the surface of the water so you can see and avoid marine life, swimmers, boaters, and ‘divers-down’ warning devices.


Best Key West Jet Ski Tours

24 North Hotel has partnered with Fury Water Adventures to offer a very special Jet Ski For Less package. The 90-minute guided tour for two around the island covers nearly 28 miles and is not for the faint-hearted. Prior to your tandem experience, guests will receive an arrival gift that includes reef-friendly suntan lotion, SPF lip balm, a 24 North Hotel Wellness Kit, and water bottle. Plus, you’ll save up to 20% on your nightly rate.

The best way to see Key West is from the water. Jet Skis aren’t your preferred speed? No worries, you have options. We’ve put together a helpful Key West Boat Charters Guide to help visitors decide what suits them best. From sport fishing to scuba and snorkel trips, dolphin watches, sunset cruises, and more, book your activity through our ‘Conch’cierge.

Now, all you have to do is put this information to use with a trip to Key West, where summer never ends. Our hotel in New Town has a low-key vibe and we offer shuttle service to and from Old Town. An on-site Starbucks, awesome pool area, daily live entertainment, and other amenities makes 24 North Hotel your best choice. See our special offers.


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