The Essentials of Jet Ski Riding: A Guide to Safety and Fun on the Water
The Essentials of Jet Ski Riding: A Guide to Safety and Fun on the Water

The Essentials of Jet Ski Riding: A Guide to Safety and Fun on the Water

Jet skiing offers an adrenaline-pumping experience on the water, but it’s essential to be well-informed and prepared before hitting the waves. Whether you’re a first-time rider or a seasoned enthusiast, these key tips will help you feel more confident, control your jet ski’s speed, and maneuver effectively, ensuring a safe and enjoyable outing while minimizing the risk of damage to your watercraft.

1. Always Wear a Life Vest

Safety is paramount when operating a personal watercraft. Wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket at all times while riding a jet ski. Not only does it protect you from potential mishaps and drowning, but it is also required by law. Failure to wear a life jacket can lead to fines ranging from $195 to $500. So, remember to always wear your life vest for a safe and enjoyable experience on the water.

2. No Brakes, Keep Your Distance

The first thing to remember is that jet skis do not have brakes. As you embark on your jet ski adventure, maintain a safe distance from other boats and fellow jet skiers. Riding side by side is a safer option than following directly behind another watercraft. As your speed increases, be sure to increase the distance between you and other riders to have ample time to react in case of sudden stops or changes in direction.

3. Power to Turn

Just as they lack brakes, jet skis cannot turn without power. To navigate and make turns, you need to use the throttle. Lean in the direction you want to go and apply throttle to achieve smooth and precise turns. Practicing this technique will enhance your jet ski handling skills.

4. Stay Away from Shores

Keep in mind that lake levels in certain regions can be low, and water levels near the shore may be deceiving. To avoid potential hazards like sandbars, rocks, and shallow waters, stay out in the deeper parts of the lake. This precaution will prevent unwanted contact with the lakebed and keep your jet ski safe from damage.

5. The “Knee Deep” Rule

Before starting the jet ski and letting it run, make sure the water is at least “knee deep.” Operating the watercraft in water levels lower than “knee deep” can lead to sucking up rocks and debris from the bottom of the lake into the jet pump, causing potential damage. Pay close attention to water depth, especially when approaching the shore.

6. Properly Beaching a Jet Ski

When approaching the shore to beach the jet ski, turn off the engine while the water is still deep enough. This prevents the jet ski from sucking up rocks, sand, or mud from the lakebed. Look for a suitable beaching area with a clay/mud or sandy bottom and an appealing shoreline. Avoid locations with large rocks, boulders, and debris in the water that could damage the jet ski. To beach the ski, shut it off in knee-deep water, then proceed to push or pull it towards the shore until it makes contact with the lakebed. If you’re taking turns riding, the ski doesn’t need to come all the way to shore; have the person walk out to the ski, push it out to knee-deep water, and start it there.

7. Always be Aware of No-Wake Zones

No-wake zones are common in many water bodies. These areas require you to operate the jet ski at idle speed or slightly above idle, using the throttle only for maneuvering. Familiarize yourself with no-wake zones in your location, as failure to abide by these rules may result in citations issued by authorities.

8. Avoid High-Risk Areas

For beginners and first-time riders, it’s best to stay away from docks, gas docks, boat slips, marinas, and other high-traffic boating areas. The lack of brakes on jet skis can make collisions with these structures more likely. To avoid damaging the jet ski, use the shore beaching technique instead of attempting to pick up or drop off riders at docks or marinas.

Now equipped with this essential knowledge, you’re ready for an exciting jet ski adventure. Embrace the thrill of riding the waves while ensuring the safety of yourself, fellow riders, and your watercraft. Have a blast out on the water and create unforgettable memories with your jet ski escapades!