Although Government policy is generally that recreation should be self-regulating, recreational sailing or motor boats are subject to the international regulations for the prevention of collisions (COLREGS). To comply with the COLREGS vessels must be navigated in a safe and responsible manner.
In the UK, personal watercraft such as jet-skis are not covered by merchant shipping regulations because the UK's powers to make safety regulations apply to ships.
However the Government intend to amend the Merchant Shipping Act 1995 when parliamentary time allows in order that specified legislation, such as the COLREGS, can be applied to jet-skis. Contravention of the COLREGS is a criminal offence.