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Launching Your Jet Ski

Launching your jet ski can be both exciting and daunting, especially the first time. On busy weekends at the lake the docks are bustling with activity. Unfortunately, congested docks are where 95% of jet ski accidents occur. There are typically two ways to get a jet ski launched. With two people (rider and driver) or a single person. The steps are different for one versus two. Here are some tips for launching your jet ski.

Rotoport-8When launching your jet ski, there are two key areas to focus on – procedure and safety. No doubt, when you and your family arrive at the dock you’ll be anxious to get out on the water. An important part of protecting your jet ski and keeping your family safe is waiting for your turn to get to the ramp. While the wait might seem frustrating, it’s a great time to get set for your trip, donning wet suits and life vests/jackets. Be sure to double check your children to insure life jacket straps are pulled tight and securely fastened.

Busy ramps call for an efficient ramp launch. Make sure you are proficient at backing up your trailer. If not, some practice in an open parking lot will make your life much less stressed on the ramp. It can be a stressing situation to end up with your jet ski trailer jack knifed across the ramp as you’re backing down.

As your position in line nears the ramp, it’s also a good idea to make sure your jet ski’s engine will start. There’s no point in launching it into the water if the engine won’t start. Also, be sure to remove the rear tie downs attaching your jet ski to the trailer (make sure and leave the front winch strap on) and put the drain plugs in to prevent water from entering the hull.

If you’re launching the jet ski by yourself, then attach a short rope to your jet ski so you can secure your it once you’ve launched it from the trailer into the water.
Now you’re ready to position your trailer so that’s it’s running straight with the ramp. Because jet skis are much smaller than boats it’s a good idea to open your car door so you can see exactly what you’re doing as you guide the trailer down the ramp. Go slowly and stop your car before your trailer’s tires touch the water. Put your car in park and your emergency brake on before exiting the car. Undo your winch strap and let your rider hop on if you have a rider. Then continue backing up until the jet ski floats off the trailer. You may have to get out and give the jets ski a little push off to get it going, unless you’re lucky enough to have a jet ski with reverse.

Once your jet ski is completely in the water, jump aboard and start the engine. Ride your jet ski to the closest and safest place to secure. This is where a short rope on your jet ski comes in handy. By keeping the rope short, you prevent it from getting sucked up into the jet ski’s pump. The last way you want to start your day is with an expensive repair bill.

With your jet ski safely secured, head back to the ramp and park your car. While most people at the dock will understand the process of launching a jet ski takes time, don’t dally. Other families are also waiting their turn.