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Pre-Launch Operation Checklist for JetSkis

A Minnesota woman had a close call when the Jet Ski she was riding on the St. Croix River exploded, breaking her back. Nicole Montez, 20, said she could see the Jet Ski below her when she was airborne. Her friends were close to shore and helped her. Montez broke two vertebrae and must remain on bed rest for a month. While it’s still not clear why the Jet Ski exploded, Montez believes a leak in the gas line ignited the engine.

Montez’s story is a reminder of the how important it is to do a pre-launch operation checklist before riding your Jet Ski. You wouldn’t want your 6YFJ-Resized320x240airline’s pilot to skip a pre-flight checklist before your next flight so why shouldn’t you go through the pre-launch operation checklist for your Jet Ski before going out? For a detailed pre-launch operations checklist for your Jet Ski, you’ll want to refer to your owner’s manual. Checking every item on a Jet Ski’s pre-launch operation checklist is for your safety and is a Jet Ski owner’s responsibility. There are lots of little things to remember. Here is a general pre-launch operation checklist for those times when you are out and your owner’s manual isn’t handy.

  1. Drain Plug (s). You might have seen folks put in without plugs but this is not a good idea.
  2. Don’t forget to unplug the trailer.
  3. Lifejackets. Make sure everyone riding your Jet Ski is wearing a lifejacket before they get into the water.
  4. Registration on board. You never know when the Coast Guard will ask to see your registration. You need proof that the vehicle is legally licensed. It’s no different than driving your car.
  5. Make sure your gas tank is full. An empty tank of gas is a sure fire way to spoil a day on the water. The last thing you want is a tow back to the dock.
  6. Check the gas lines for leaks.
  7. A fully charged battery. Again, the last thing you want is a tow back to the dock.
  8. Don’t forget your safety lanyard. Who’s up for towing their boat for an hour, putting it on the launch and realizing that they left their safety lanyard at home? Nobody.
  9. Take the tow straps off.
  10. Secure your Jet Ski’s safety strap around your wrist or secure it to your life vest.
  11. Safety kit. Be sure to equip yours with the required safety equipment to meet your local codes and laws. A whistle and fire extinguisher are the bare minimums and a 20’ length of rope for emergency tie up or towing is always a good idea.

Be safe and have fun!