• Check your boat and equipment before starting
  • Check you fuel level
  • Check for proper number of life preservers
  • Study caution areas on the map and avoid them
  • Learn areas which are shallow or contain hazards
  • Make one full circuit around Lake Joyce in a counter-clockwise direction (keeping to the right)
  • Make mental notes of swimmers, boaters or debris and hazards
  • Wear reflective material on life jackets and water skis
  • Slow down after dark
  • Be Alert
  • Have a great time on our beautiful lake

Please do NOT:

  • Tailgate other boats
  • Allow an inexperience boat operator to operate your boat
  • Ski when exhausted
  • Swim near propeller area or when the boat engine is on
  • Make a wake in the canal, this is a No Wake Zone
  • Engage in water activities during thunderstorms and lightening
  • Dive head first into unfamiliar waters.

Virginia Boating Safety Education Requirement
In 2007, the Virginia General Assembly enacted a law to establish a boating safety education compliance requirement. The requirement for boating safety education is phased-in over several years according to the following schedule:
PWC operators 20 years of age or younger shall meet the requirements by July 1, 2009;
PWC operators 35 years of age or younger shall meet the requirements by July 1, 2010;
PWC operators 50 years of age or younger and motorboat operators 20 years of age or younger shall meet the requirements by July 1, 2011;

All PWC operators, regardless of age, and motorboat operators 30 years of age or younger shall meet the requirements by July 1, 2012;

Motorboat operators 40 years of age or younger shall meet the requirements by July 1, 2013;

Motorboat operators 45 years of age or younger shall meet the requirements by July 1, 2014;

Motorboat operators 50 years of age or younger shall meet the requirements by July 1, 2015;

All motorboat operators, regardless of age, shall meet the requirements by July 1, 2016.

A person shall be considered in compliance with the requirement for boating safety education if he/she meets one or more of the following provisions:

  •  Completes and passes a boating safety education course that is approved by NASBLA and accepted by the Department;
  • Passes an equivalency exam;
  • Possesses a valid license to operate a vessel issued to maritime personnel by the United States Coast Guard or a marine certificate issued by the Canadian government or possesses a Canadian Pleasure Craft Operator’s Card;
  • Possesses a temporary operator’s certificate;
  • Possesses a rental or lease agreement from a motorboat rental or leasing business, which lists the person as the authorized operator of the motorboat, and has also completed the Dockside Safety Checklist;
  • Operates the motorboat under onboard direct supervision of a person who meets the compliance requirement;
  • Is a non-resident, is temporarily using the waters of Virginia for a period not to exceed 90 days, and meets any applicable boating safety education requirements of the state of residency, or possesses a Canadian Pleasure Craft Operator’s Card;
  • Has assumed operation of the motorboat due to the illness or physical impairment of the initial operator, and is returning the motorboat to shore in order to provide assistance or care for the operator;
  • Is registered as a commercial fisherman pursuant to the Code of Virginia or is under the onboard direct supervision of the commercial fisherman while operating the commercial fisherman’s boat.

 Personal Watercraft (PWC)

PWC stands for personal watercraft with an emphasis on the personal. Trade name craft, such as Ski-Doo® (Bombardier Recreational Products), Waverunner® (Yamaha Motor Corporation, USA), and JET SKI® (Kawasaki Motors Corp., USA) are types of PWC. Personal watercraft are defined as motorboats less than 16 feet in length that are powered by jet pumps, not propellers, where the persons stand, kneel, or sit on, rather than inside the boat. PWCs are operated by one person, and often have seating space for others. Some models have seating for up to four riders (including the operator).

PWC Safety

Our Virginia Game Wardens enforce these laws. Listed below are the specific PWC laws:

Restrictions on Operation

It shall be unlawful for any person to:

  1. Operate a personal watercraft unless he is at least sixteen years of age, except any person fourteen or fifteen years of age shall be allowed to operate a personal watercraft if he (i) has successfully completed a boating safety education course approved by the Director and (ii) carries on his person, while operating a personal watercraft, proof of successful completion of such course. Upon the request of a law-enforcement officer, such person shall provide proof of having successfully completed an approved course;
  2. Operate a personal watercraft unless each person riding on the personal watercraft is wearing a type I, type II, type III, or type V personal flotation device approved by the United State Coast Guard;
  3. Fail to attach the lanyard to his person, clothing, or personal flotation device, if the personal watercraft is equipped with a lanyard-type engine cut-off switch;
  4. Operate a personal watercraft on the waters of the Commonwealth between sunset and sunrise;
  5. Operate a personal watercraft while carrying a number of passengers in excess of the number for which the craft was designed by the manufacturer; or Operate a personal watercraft in excess of the slowest possible speed required to maintain steerage and headway within fifty feet of docks, piers, boathouses, boat ramps, people in the water, and vessels other than personal watercraft. Nothing in this section shall prohibit a personal watercraft from towing a person with a rope less than fifty feet in length.

Note: The above provisions do not apply to participants in regattas, races, marine parades, tournament or exhibitions approved by the Board of the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries or the United States Coast Guard.

Reckless Operation

A person shall be guilty of reckless operation who operates any personal watercraft recklessly or at a speed or in such a manner as to endanger the life, limb or property of any person, which shall include, but not be limited to:
weaving through vessels that are underway, stopped, moored or at anchor while exceeding a reasonable speed under the circumstances and traffic conditions existing at the time; following another vessel or person on water skis or similar device, crossing the path of another vessel, or jumping the wake of another vessel more closely than is reasonable and prudent, having due regard to the speed of both vessels and the traffic on and the condition of the waters at the time; crossing between the towing vessel and a person on water skis or other device; or steering toward an object or person and turning sharply in close proximity to such object or person in order to spray or attempt to spray the object or person with the wash or jet spray of the personal watercraft.

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries encourages all potential operators to take a safe boating course prior to independent operation, especially those with limited boating experience. Safe operation of a PWC must be a conscious decision after learning the facts. The true meaning of PWC is personal responsibility. Help make this year a personal-watercraft-safe year by not being a part of the accident or fatality picture.

Be Responsible! Be Safe! Have Fun! Or, more appropriately, to have fun, you must act responsibly and be safe.