There is no disputing that riding a personal watercraft (also known as a jet ski) may be an exhilarating experience and is an enjoyable way to spend the afternoon at a nearby lake or reservoir. Imagine it as a snowmobile that can be used on the water.
Jet skis are not just simple toys because they have the horsepower that is comparable to that of large outboard boat engines and acceleration that is on par with that of motorcycles. According to research conducted by the BoatUS Foundation, the operation of these robust machines is associated with a higher risk of injury compared to that of other types of watercraft. Although they account for only 9 percent of all maritime vessels that are registered in the United States, jet skis are involved in 26 percent of all recorded accidents.
To reduce the likelihood of being involved in an accident when operating a jet ski, you must have prior experience as well as the appropriate training. A day spent on the water can be enjoyable and incident-free if proper precautions are taken, in addition to meeting the legal criteria pertaining to minimum age and level of education.
Ensure You Have the Required Jet Ski Equipment
The United States Coast Guard categorizes jet skis as Class A vessels, which means that the same rules and regulations that apply to boats that are less than 16 feet in length also apply to jet skis. Therefore, you are not allowed to ride your jet ski for the very first time until it has been supplied with all of the necessary safety gear for its category. Along with a fire extinguisher that has been inspected and certified by the Coast Guard, there also needs to be a functional backfire flame arrestor and ventilation system on board. In addition to it, you will require a device for signalings, such as a whistle or horn, as well as vessel registration with the appropriate decals displayed.
No of how well a person can swim, a flotation device like a life vest is required for everyone who is a passenger in a boat as well as anyone who is being towed behind the boat. It is also required by law. The person who is operating the jet ski is required to wrap a cord or lanyard around their wrist, and the other end of the cord or lanyard must be attached to the key that is in the ignition. This can help to ensure that the engine is turned off in the event that the driver loses control of the vehicle. When the jet ski is docked, the cord should also be disconnected to prevent anyone from using it in an unauthorized manner.
Attend a Safety Training Class for Jet Skis
It is strongly suggested that you enroll in a boating safety course even if the state in which you reside does not mandate its residents to do so. This is especially true if the course provides training on the particulars of operating jet skis. When you successfully complete a recognized safety course, you might possibly be eligible for a reduction in the cost of your personal watercraft insurance. First-time boat operators should obtain some practical experience in an isolated place away from busier waters after completing a boating safety course; the majority of accidents involve collisions with other vessels. This affords you the opportunity to become familiar with the operation of your jet ski as well as its handling in a setting that is free from risk.
Drive in a defensive manner at all times
Even if they have knowledge and expertise, riders of jet skis should always practice defensive driving. It’s simple to lose control of your jet ski and end up landing awkwardly or, even worse, upside down when a boat passes by and creates a wake that makes it tempting to jump, but it’s also easy to do the opposite. When traveling at maximum speed, jet skis have a stopping distance of up to 300 feet, so it’s important to keep an eye out for other jet skis, boats, and swimmers.
You should never have more people on your jet ski than it can safely accommodate. Even while it may be tempting to put a young child in the front seat, the law requires that all passengers sit behind the driver.
Last but not least, never lend your jet ski to a driver who is not properly licensed. Accidents are inevitable, but they are more likely to occur when the operator lacks the education and expertise necessary to handle a vessel with such a high level of power. It won’t affect how much fun you have jet skiing if you follow these and other safety standards, but it will help lessen the likelihood of accidents.