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Tips for Staying Safe on Your Jet Ski

What’s the best way to ensure you’ll have 100% fun and eliminate the possibility of danger on your jet ski this summer? Knowledge about the technique and etiquette of riding a jet ski. Some of the most serious jet ski accidents occur when the rider is unfamiliar with how to operate a jet skis. Here are some tips for staying safe on your jet ski.

2008gtiExperienced jet ski operators know that staying vigilant and alert while out on the water is essential to staying safe. They also know the limitations of their jet ski in terms of speed and stopping distance. Jet skis are no different than cars or larger watercrafts and boats. It takes time and distance to bring a jet ski to a complete stop. Many inexperienced operators are ignorant of the fact that a jet ski will continue to travel in the same direction, regardless of the way the handlebars are turned, when the engine is off. When the power is off, a jet ski can’t be steered.

Because of the increased potential for danger, it is illegal in almost every jurisdiction in the United States to make sharp turns near another vessel; follow a boat too closely; chase another jet ski in a small circle; or jump another jet ski’s wake within 100 feet of it or any other watercraft. Any of these activities combined with lack of vigilance and inexperience can result in a serious or fatal accident.

First and foremost, learn to operate a jet ski before taking to the water. While it may look simple to operate – just like a motorcycle or snowmobile – it’s better to learn how to use a Jet Ski before you step onboard. A properly maintained and top level functioning jet ski will keep you safer on the water as well.

The worst time to learn how to swim is when you’re stranded in the middle of a lake. If you don’t know how to swim and you’re considering operating a jet ski, think twice. Staying safe in and around water means knowing how to swim.

Whether you know how to swim or not, the law requires that anyone operating a jet ski wear a life jacket. It’s no different than wearing a helmet when you’re on a motorcycle. Whether you plan to drive or ride on a jet ski, you must wear a life jacket. For extra safety wear a wet suit, goggles and gloves.

Many drivers on the road rarely follow the car in front of them at a safe following distance – one car length for every 10 mph you’re traveling at the time. The same that’s true with cars is also true with jet skis. Most accidents are caused by collisions. This is why you should stay at least 100 feet away from swimmers, divers, rafts and other watercraft when operating a jet ski. Be sure that you know the rules and regulations regarding jet skis for the beaches and lakes where you plan to ride or drive your jet ski.

Open water, whether it’s a lake, river or ocean, is dangerous at night. Never use your jet ski at night or attempt to ride it on pitch-black waters. You won’t know the behavior of the water at night – if it’s calm or choppy- nor will you know or be able to see other watercrafts either. And if you break down in the middle of the ocean, you’ll be waiting until sunrise until anyone can see you. In addition to never operating your jet ski on open water at night you should never ride alone since you never know when an emergency will occur. Never drink and drive your jet ski either.

Finally, never operate your jet ski without a lanyard. In case you fall from your jet ski, something that even happens to experienced drivers every once in a while, a lanyard automatically cuts the engine. Lanyards not only spare you from having to swim back to shore, they also prevent your jet ski from driving away alone.

Follow these tips to ensure safety and fun on your next jet ski outing.