There are a lot of ways to enjoy Florida’s many water environments. You can canoe, sail, even float in the bay… but one of our hands-down favorite, most exciting methods of experiencing Indian River is by jet skis. Jet skis are fun and fast and capable of going places many larger boats can’t. These are the motorcycles of the seas and we encourage everyone to try them out at least once!
That said, as with everything boating and swimming, jet skis also have their risks and it’s important for riders to understand the dangers before they leave the dock. The following is a look at some of the important things to keep in mind when taking out a jet ski or similar personal watercraft this summer:
The Essentials of Jet Ski Safety: Staying Safe & Having Fun
- Wear an appropriately fitting life jacket. All recreational vessels, jet skis included, are required to carry life jackets for every person on board. That said, we strongly recommend not just keeping it aboard, but also keeping it snug on your body at all times when you’re underway. A life jacket is the most important tool you have to stay safe on the water and it can be easily outfitted with a kill cord that will stop the engine should you fall off the jet ski. This will ensure you don’t get hurt by the machine’s moving parts and that you can quickly swim back to climb aboard and get back on your way.
- Don’t drink and ride. While it may seem like a good idea to jump on a jet ski after you’ve had some brunch mimosas or afternoon beers, this is never a good idea. That’s because when you’ve been drinking, you’re less likely to be fully aware of your surroundings. It’s simply not worth the risk of injury to yourself and others; so stay safe and sober when out on the water.
- Check your jet ski and ask questions. If you own a jet ski, it’s important to keep the watercraft properly maintained as equipment failure is one of the leading causes of jet ski accidents. As you prepare to launch, check the cables, fuel and oil levels, and do a test engine start on land. If you are renting a jet ski, have the rental operator go over these steps with you as well as basic safety instructions. Do not be afraid to ask questions! Thoroughly understanding how best to operate a jet ski is critical to ensuring you have the best and safest time out on the water. So if there’s something you’re not sure about, ask away!
- Know proper sitting technique. Remember that bit about a life jacket saving you if you get thrown off the jet ski? Well, one to help prevent that from occurring is to know proper riding technique. When you’re on a jet ski, you’ll want to put your feet on the footrests and sit with your back at a slight bend so that you’re leaning forward in a slightly aggressive stance. Do not lock up your knees. This sitting position will help you better absorb the shock of the waves and will make you feel more confident in turning.
- Be humble. Finally, it’s important to be humble when you’re on the water (in other words, don’t be cocky!). Many jet ski newcomers can be tempted to jump large waves left over from a passing motorboat. It’s important to know your skill level and avoid being reckless in such scenarios as taking a large wave in the wrong manner can send your jet ski flying off in an unexpected manner or even flipping over. Additionally, slow down when passing swimmers, canoeists, kayakers, and paddle boarders and give them the right of way. Not only is this the kind thing to do, as even the waves of a jet ski can be disruptive, it’s also the safe and legal thing to do under maritime law.
Contact Us For Your First Jet Ski Adventure
Are you ready to get out on the water! Contact us at 321 Boat Club to get signed up for your next jet ski adventure!