Water and Jet Skiing in Hatteras, North Carolina

Take your Vacation Up a Notch with Cape Hatteras Jet Skiing!

With miles of water in every direction, it’s no wonder that visitors from all across the country head to Hatteras Island to fully enjoy their favorite watersport, and while surfing, kiteboarding, boating and kayaking are arguably the most popular modes of on-the-water transportation, jet skiers and water skiers will find ample opportunities to get out and have some fun as well, provided that they stick to the local rules.

Personal Watercraft Regulations

As part of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, there are some regulations in place when it comes to jet skis, wave runners, and other personalized motorized vessels. Referred to as “Personal Watercraft” by the National Park Service (NPS), these vessels are prohibited from launching or landing on any area that is controlled by the NPS. This includes beach accesses and oceanside shorelines throughout the National Seashore, which runs from the edge of Nags Head at Whalebone Junction to the tip of Ocracoke Island, and therefore includes all Hatteras Island beaches. Keep this in mind before jet skiing in Hatteras Island, North Carolina.

Head Out on the Water

Though this initially sounds strict on the surface, there are still ample options to get out and have fun, courtesy of the island’s other major body of water, the Pamlico Sound. Jet skiers can launch from their own vacation rental home or condo, (provided that they head out into the open water at a safe speed), and can be cruising through the nearly 30-miles-wide waters within minutes.

In fact, the Pamlico Sound is ideal for personal watercrafts, (and even more appropriate than the Atlantic Ocean), because the waters are consistently shallow with depths that average around 5 or 6 feet. The on-the-water terrain is also nicely flat with no large waves to propel a Jet Ski or wave runner off course, and are nicely wide and unpopulated which ensures plenty of room to cruise without the fear of a collision. 

Where to Get Started 

So how do you get out and explore? A soundfront or canalfront vacation rental home with a large dock and on-site or community boat launch will provide direct access, and visitors will also find several locally owned soundside boat launches as well throughout the island. (Note that because of NPS regulations, visitors cannot launch from popular public soundside beaches, like Canadian Hole, Kite Point, or the Salvo Day Use Area.) These vacation homes are also near some of the top attractions in Outer Banks!

There are also several watersports companies for rentals, guided tours, and lessons, which are especially prevalent in the town of Salvo – one of the most popular destinations for jet skiing, water skiing, and other renowned island watersports. Head to locally owned Hatteras Watersports for a nice selection of new models that are easy to maneuver and which can provide hours of on-the-water entertainment. In addition, the northern beach towns of Manteo and Nags Head offer additional Jet Ski rental options, as well as new waters to explore within the Albemarle, Roanoke, and Croatan Sounds. 

Though jet skiing and water skiing isn’t the island’s most famous sport by any means, visitors in need of a rush will still find options to go out and get their toes wet via a thrilling adventure. Spot by a local watersports company for a rental, or ask about access points close to your vacation home or accommodations. With water everywhere, there’s lots of room to cruise on Hatteras Island. 

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