Emerging Policy

Policy Letter: Requirements for mechanically propelled personal Hydrofoils (efoils) and motorized surfboards (jetboards)

The Coast Guard Boating Safety Division has released BSX Policy Letter 01-22 announcing that efoils and jetboards are now classified as vessels by the Coast Guard. The Policy Letter provides guidance to U.S. Coast Guard Maritime Law Enforcement, state titling and registration offices, state maritime law enforcement agencies, manufactures, and the public on requirements for Motorized Personal Hydrofoils, (AKA eFoils, electric Hydrofoils) and Motorized Surfboards (AKA jetboards).

On occasion, State law enforcement agencies, manufacturers or other interested parties will ask the Coast Guard what laws and regulations apply to a particular device being used, or considered for use, on the water. The Coast Guard’s first step is to determine whether or not the particular device in question is a “vessel”. The process begins with the definition of the word vessel found in 1 USC 3, which is: “The word “vessel” includes every description of watercraft or other artificial contrivance used, or capable of being used, as a means of transportation on water.”

This determination is limited to the application of regulations administered by the U.S. Coast
Guard and does not reflect the opinion of any other department or agency of the federal government. You are encouraged to seek the advice of private counsel and/or the agency administering the particular program(s) with which you are concerned.

Coast Guard Policy Letters provide detailed guidance on Coast Guard’s standing or views on various subject areas concerning Boating Safety.

For more information on vessel determinations visit  the Coast Guard Boating Safety webpage at https://uscgboating.org/regulations/vessel-determinations.php

This blog is not a replacement or substitute for the formal posting of regulations and updates or existing processes for receiving formal feedback of the same. Links provided on this blog will direct the reader to official publications, such as the Federal Register, Homeport and the Code of Federal Regulations. These publications remain the official source for regulatory information published by the Coast Guard.

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