Jet Ski Safety Tips
A jet ski is a lot of fun. With the speed and adrenaline of riding over waves coupled with the wind in your face, there is no denying that this type of watercraft is great for thrill seekers looking for some fun. When you are out having fun, it is important to have a few basic jet ski safety tips to ensure the fun keeps going for years to come. Here are the top 10 jet ski safety tips you need to know for your first ride and beyond.
1. Know your machine
Before you ever go out for the first ride, you should familiarize yourself with the specifics of your machine such as the controls and safety features. Learning on the water is part of the process, but you need to know what you are learning before you get on the water. Familiarize yourself with how to control the speed, stopping, and the suggested load capacity of your watercraft before you even head out to the water.
2. Wear a life jacket
One of the biggest yet most often overlooked jet ski safety tips is to wear a life jacket. Most people think they are competent enough to avoid this type of Personal Flotation Device (PFD), but the wake and waves combined with a potentially immobilizing injury in the event of an accident can lead to death if you aren’t prepared. A life jacket will help keep you afloat in the unfortunate event you are unable to swim or knocked unconscious during a collision.
3. Utilize the engine turn off lanyard
One of the best features of many modern jet skis is the turn off lanyard commonly called a kill cord. This is similar to what you see on a treadmill where if you fall off, the lanyard will be pulled out of the machine and cause it to stop. This is helpful with a jet ski so you don’t end up with a runway watercraft and potential safety hazards for others.
4. Don’t ride in your swimwear
While a lot of people think it is perfectly acceptable to ride in their swim trunks or bathing suit, there are a few good reasons not to do so when looking at safety. If you happen to fall off and land in the jet stream of your ski or someone else’s, there is a chance of water rushing into a body cavity. Water rushing into lower body cavities can cause serious life threating internal injuries and bathing suits do not offer adequate protection against such an injury. This is why it’s important to wear riding shorts that are tight fitting to the body or a wetsuit to avoid such injuries.
5. Watch for others
One of the most obvious safety tips is to watch for others while you are out jet skiing. This means watching for other skiers to avoid a collision or close call, but also looking out for boaters and swimmers in the water. You should ride far enough from shore to avoid being near swimmers but still keep a watchful eye out just in case.
6. Keep a safe distance
You never want to ride too close to another jet skier. If they slow down to stop, you may not be able to stop in time which will lead to a collision. If they make a sudden turn, you could get caught in their wake or end up clipping them by following too close behind. A good rule of thumb is to stay 70 feet away from others to ensure ample stopping and reaction time.
7. Don’t try to splash people in the water/jump waves
Making a wake is a lot of fun. Splashing that wake at people in the water or on a jet ski is unsafe and downright rude. Depending on the size of the wake and proximity to a swimmer, you could cause a near drowning incident from the sudden rush of water. If you aim your wake at another rider, you could cause them to lose control and flip. It is best to avoid making wakes near swimmers and keep to a slow, steady pace when too close to others. You should also avoid jumping wakes or waves because it is too easy to misjudge the size and hit it at the wrong angle which will lead to you being flipped and thrown off.
8. Follow all signs and restrictions
When there are signs that say “No Wake” or a posted speed limit in an area, those signs are there for good reason and you need to follow them. These signs are posted to protect riders, wildlife, or both, depending on the situation. It is safest to always follow any posted signs or rules of the area to ensure a safe ride.
9. Keep an eye on the shore
When riding, it can be easy to get lost in the fun and lose sight of the shore. This can become a potentially deadly scenario if you are riding on the ocean or a large lake. When you are riding, always try to ride parallel to the shore so you never lose sight of it to avoid becoming stranded and finding yourself in a life or death situation.
10. Check the weather conditions
Weather conditions can play a big role in a safe or unsafe day on the water. When there is a storm rolling in, the skies aren’t the only thing affected. The water will become choppy with bigger waves making it harder to safely navigate. You should always check the weather report before heading for a day on the water to make sure the conditions are ideal and safe.