To legally operate a PWC in Hawaii, one must have completed and passed a PWC safety course approved by the state. One such course that is sponsored by the state is the Recreational Thrill Craft Operators Safety Education Course. This is a one-day course typically on a Saturday. The courses provided by the state are lecture based only. Nobody ever fails the course I'm told.
Learn about local ocean safety principles and practices; historical, cultural, and customary practices of Hawaii's ocean users; and rules regarding protected species and thrill craft operation in Hawaii. Effective January 2005 all recreational thrill craft (personal watercraft) operators must complete this certification course.
For those that wish to engage in Tow-In Surfing or to be allowed to launch their PWCs during High Surf Warnings, a second day of courses is required in additon to the above course. This course is called the "Ocean Safety Education Course" and costs $20 more on Oahu. Same schedule, taking place the day after the basic PWC certification course.
Learn about the legal and regulatory requirements for persons who participate in the sport of tow-in surfing in Hawai'i; risk management principles; local ocean safety principles and practices; rules and laws pertaining to protected species in ocean waters in Hawai'i; boating skills as they apply to the sport of tow-in surfing; and the historical, cultural, and customary practices of Hawaii's ocean users. All who participate in the sport of tow-in surfing in Hawaii must complete this certification course.

On Oahu the courses are offered at the Windward Community College Office of Continuing Education. The next class will be on: March 7, 2009, Saturday, 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Course code: K01PD207, call 808-235-7433 to register. Location: Windward Community College, Hale Kuhina 115

On Kauai: KAUAI, February 7, 2009, Saturday, 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., call 808-245-8355 to register. Location to be determined.

On the Big Island: April 4, 2009, Saturday, 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.


More information can be found here:
http://ocet.wcc.hawaii.edu/

A much better option that may finally be approved/accepted by the state is to take one of Kanalu K-38's courses. Kanalu K-38 is a non-profit organization that specializes in providing PWC training and certification in partnership with the National Association of State Boating Law Adminstrators and National Safe Boating Council Educational Boating Standards.

The main difference is that this organization is based on national boating/PWC standards as opposed to something that Hawaii put together. All of their courses also provides ACTUAL HANDS-ON instruction by experienced PWC operators/watermen. They put a great emphasis on making sure you are comfortable on your PWC, able rescue people in water and discuss subjects/law issues that the state instructors may not want to discuss.


Course options as of January 2009:
BASIC RECREATIONAL COURSE (8 hour course) 139.00

This one day course prepares the student in the basic functions and operations of a personal watercraft (PWC) for recreational use in Hawai'i and nationally. Students will conduct an overview of their craft with checklists for launching/loading, vessel, single and passenger operations. Three (3) hours of classroom instruction followed with five (5) hours of water orientation, skills and drills that will enhance the basic operations and safety procedures necessary to properly operate a Personal Watercraft. Training will be individual and tandem with a basic introduction to self-rescue techniques. If you own a registered PWC you may want to bring it along. Must be at least 15 years of age - State of Hawai'i law. 24 students max per class. Certificate of completion issued upon satisfactory completion.

PWC OPERATIONAL COURSE (16 hour course) 227.00

This course provides students with the basic boating skills needed to operate a Personal Watercraft (PWC). Course begins with classroom instruction but consisting mainly of on-water operational and self-rescue exercises, this 2 day course covers riding and rescue techniques for a single operator and operator/ partner. Training incorporates hands-on skill development, mock rescue drills and rescue board techniques, downed PWC retrievals, boat maintenance, and troubleshooting.

This course will help Auxiliarists with the Standard Operating Procedures and Protocols for PWC use and will assist recreational users in safer operations of their Personal Watercraft. Must be 15 years of age. Certificate of completion issued upon satisfactory completion.


OPEN OCEAN RESPONDER COURSE (28 hour) 350.00

This water rescue course provides students with the basic boating skills needed to operate a Personal Watercraft (PWC). Course begins with classroom instruction but consisting mainly of on-water operator and rescue exercises, this 3-day course covers riding and rescue techniques for a single operator and operator/ rescuer or for patrol needs of department personnel.


Training incorporates hands-on skill stations, mock rescue drills and rescue board techniques, as well as downed PWC retrievals, boat maintenance, troubleshooting and considerations for implementing a successful PWC/RWC program. The course provides rescue evaluations from actual incidents, video, extensive workbook information, technical boat handling skills, boat/oil/fuel and necessary gear associated with the instructional overview, with the exception of mandatory personal gear. Students will receive a workbook, tests, homework, skill sheets and a certificate upon satisfactory completion.


This is an extremely physically demanding course, students must be in excellent physical condition and be competent ocean swimmers with good knowledge of surf conditions and ocean dynamics. All participants will be required to sign waivers and provide emergency contact sheets. Night Operations training is optional. Must be 18 years or 16 years of age with parental consent.

*(A minimum class size of 6 required for this course; attending this course without a PWC 450.00)

TOW SURFING HANDS-ON TRAINING 179.00
(must have completed the PWC Operational Course or Ocean Responder Course)


If you are going to tow learn with Kanalu K38 and the pro’s. The instructors of KANALU K38 will provide the necessary hands on instruction for you to safely enjoy this growing sport. This practical is for those individuals who have undergone a previous instructional course that is NASBLA recognized or a course elsewhere that is recognized by the State of Hawai'i - DOBOR. Upon satisfactory completion of the course the individual will receive a certification of completion and can now receive a Tow surfing card from the Department of Boating and Ocean Recreation.

http://kanalu-k38.com/kanaluk38.html


-Paul