Skipping across the ocean at high speeds, bouncing off of waves, and flying through the air are just some of the things you can do when on a jet ski. Before you hop on and crank the throttle, you’ll want to make sure you’re riding with safety in mind so you can enjoy day after day on the water. Here are four key safety tips that every rider should know before getting on a jet ski.
1. Always Wear a Life Vest
You may think they look ugly or aren’t comfortable, but those bright orange life vests may be the only thing keeping you afloat should you fall into the ocean. Plenty of people think they know how to swim and don’t need a vest, but even as little as 5 minutes treading water can lead to exhaustion, muscle cramps, and possible drowning.
Life vests are also excellent at increasing your visibility should you get lost at sea and need rescue. New designs are less bulky and allow for more movement. Vests will also give your passenger, if you’re riding with a friend, a solid place they can hold on to you. If you plan on riding a jet ski, whether you’re a passenger or the driver, you should always wear a life vest.
2. Don’t Drink and Ride
The freedom and fun of skating across the ocean and flying off of waves can’t be matched by any other watercraft. Jet skis are one of the fastest ways to move around on the water and can be quite exhilarating, but just like operating any vehicle you don’t want to do it drunk. Many people think that because you’re out on the ocean there’s no chance of hitting another person. In fact, jet ski and boat accidents are quite common due to the speeds and leisurely nature of drivers. Operating a jet ski requires balance, control, and coordination. Riding while intoxicated can lead to distraction and potentially fatal accidents.
3. Stay Alert
Even if you’re perfectly sober, you must be alert and focused if you’re riding a jet ski. This pair of jet skiers in New York came in too close to a cruise liner and needed assistance getting out. Almost getting run over by a massive ship that can’t maneuver quickly or easily can happen if you lose track of your surroundings.
As a nimble rider on a jet ski, it’s your responsibility to be aware of these large and slow moving vessels and keep yourself at a safe distance.
4. Control Your Speed
Jet skis can easily hit speeds of over 60 miles per hour, and that’s on water. At these speeds, the smallest of waves will seem like massive speed bumps, with impacts rattling the jet ski and rider. Controlling your speed is the best way to avoid an accident, by being able to turn and move the jet ski where you want to when you want to.
“There are no brakes on jet skis so you’ll need to cruise to a stop,” said Lightning Bugz LSV. This also means you can’t stop if you see danger, you need to see it ahead of time and move out of the way. If you happen to fall off the jet ski they are equipped with something called a dead man, or kill, switch that will turn off the jet ski if the rider is no longer on it. These switches will help keep the jet ski from riding off into the sunset without you, but will not stop the vehicle if you fail to see a boat in front of you. Always control your speed, since you’re the only one able to control the jet ski.
Get Out and Ride
Riding a jet ski is one of the fastest and most exciting ways to enjoy the ocean, but you have to keep safety in mind as the consequences can be high. Be alert, don’t drive drunk, and always wear a life vest and you can have the adventure of a lifetime on the water.