Now that the weather has warmed up and the water isn’t quite so frigid, people will start flocking to lakes and other bodies of water to enjoy their water toys in the few months of summer that they have. Unfortunately, the smaller the water vehicle you are using, the more dangerous it could potentially be in an accident. If you own a personal watercraft (also known as a Jet Ski) or if you are planning on buying one, you need to know the various safety rules that accompany them. It may take some time out of your day to get informed, but it could save you or someone else’s life on the water this summer.
1. Always Wear a Lifejacket
Whether it is a law in your state or not, it is a must that you always wear a life jacket when operating a personal watercraft. Even if you are an Olympic swimmer, you never know what could happen in an accident. You could be knocked out or paralyzed in an accident, preventing you from keeping yourself afloat. A lifejacket should be worn at all times by all passengers.
2. Don’t Drink and Drive
Just as you shouldn’t drink and drive a vehicle, you also shouldn’t operate a personal watercraft while you have been drinking. Alcohol slows down your reaction time and makes you less alert than you would normally be. Don’t put yourself and other boaters in danger by operating while drinking.
3. Use the Kill Cord
This should be common sense for most personal watercraft riders, but make sure you always put the lanyard that connects to the power on your wrist. If properly adjusted, your personal watercraft should turn off when you fall off, with the cord still on your wrist. If you fall off without the kill cord, your personal watercraft will continue running and could injure someone else in the process.
4. Always be Aware
It is okay to have fun on the water, but it is important that you are always aware of your surroundings. It is easy to get caught up in doing doughnuts in the water or racing your friends, but if you pull your attention for just a little bit, you could end up in a deadly situation. Always scan the area and know where everyone else is at all times.
5. Take a PWC Safety Course
Of all the accidents that happen on the water, a majority of the operators involved have never taken a safety course. As unappealing as they may sound, it could mean the difference between avoiding an accident and totaling your watercraft. Most courses are not very lengthy, cost relatively very little, and are very informative.
Your personal watercraft was most likely a hefty investment, so it makes sense to want to avoid an accident at all costs. More than that, your life is at stake, so it’s important to how to protect it at all times. Have fun on the water this summer and more importantly, be safe!
Written by Carey Wooldrige, owner of Yacht Club Powersports. Based out of the Lake of the Ozarks, Yacht Club Powersports is the leading SeaDoo dealer in the state of Missouri, serving Kansas City, St. Louis, Jefferson City and more!