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PWC & Jet Ski

10 Tips for Jet Ski Safety Everyone Needs to Know


Few things are as enthralling as skimming across the water on a sunny summer day on the back of a jet ski. To keep the fun going all day long and to avoid accidents and injuries, it’s critically important to observe proper jet ski safety rules. From the time you drop your jet ski in the water to the moment it’s loaded back into your trailer, make sure you’re following these 10 safety rules.

Always wear a life jacket

This one is a no-brainer and something they teach in every boating safety course. As a rule of thumb, anytime you’re on or around water that’s more than a few feet deep, you should wear a life jacket. Wearing a life jacket is the simplest form of safety you can practice.

Always wear a watercraft helmet

Second to wearing your life jacket, wear a helmet! If you’re ever thrown from your jet ski—due to a collision or dangerous wake—you’re going to hit the water hard. Protection for your skull is paramount and a watercraft helmet provides the necessary protection you need.

Never drink and ski

We said it above and we’ll say it again: motocross and dirt bikes require a lot of maintenance! As you get more serious with your hobby and start to perform this maintenance yourself, a dirt bike lift table becomes essential. After you get one, you’ll wonder why you spent so long crawling around on the ground tinkering with your bike!

Observe wake signs and surroundings

Wake signs are posted for a reason: your safety. Failure to observe wake signs and other signage out on the water can put you or others in danger, leading to accident or personal injury. Stay alert on your PWC and obey all posted signs for wake, right of way and hazard warnings.

Maintain your jet ski

An under-maintained jet ski is a liability. If your PWC hasn’t received recent or essential maintenance, it’s at risk of failure, malfunction or safety concerns—issues that’ll not only affect your fun out on the water, they put you and those around you in danger. Keep your equipment maintained!

Pay attention to weather

A storm can roll in suddenly and when it does, the last place you want to be is out in the middle of a lake. Catch a weather report before you take your PWC out for the day and keep one eye on the sky if things start to cloud up. If things start looking ominous or you catch a whisper of thunder in the distance, head for shore.

Observe speed rules

Part of the appeal of jet skiing is ripping the throttle and seeing how fast you can go with nothing but open lake ahead of you. Before you open up your PWC, make sure you’re staying apprised of speed rules. Some lakes have them posted; other areas make the information available online. If you’re unsure of the speed limits, use common sense. It’s fine to open up the throttle a little—just make sure you’re in control.

Know the jet ski you’re riding.

Some people own jet skis and know their equipment like the back of their hand. Operating their PWC is second-nature, which means they’re generally more in control. If you’re renting a jet ski or using a friend’s, take a few minutes to get the hang of it and its operation. The first step in safe ridership is to get a feel for the craft you’re controlling. Don’t assume all jet skis operate the same!

Don’t overload your jet ski

Observe the weight capacity of your jet ski—especially if it’s a two-seater. Overloading a PWC can change how it handles and affect safety considerations. Extra weight can bog down the jet ski, make it harder to handle and even make it more difficult to stop once you’re up to speed. Get the weight rating before you hit the water and observe it at all times.

Practice proper loading

When you’re not on the water, proper loading and unloading of your PWC become prime safety considerations. Always observe proper loading procedure when backing your trailer into a boat launch and use caution when loading them from the water into the trailer again. Often, this is a two-or-more-person job.

Depending on the PWC model you own, your jet ski can reach speeds of 50-70mph! Safe to say, without some safety rules in place, things can become very dangerous, very quickly. Stick to the 10 rules above and you’ll have no trouble staying safe at any speed.

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