Riding a jet ski is possibly one of the most exciting things you can do on the water, and lucky for you, the summer holidays are here! As such, we believe there will be a number of new jet ski riders who need some advice on safe jet ski habits.
While we at Natal Power Boats welcome all riders to the fold, we also advise you all to be safety conscious. To help you make the most of your jet ski, we have compiled the jet ski safety guide you need this Summer. For those new to the pastime, follow these tips to keep the water safe for yourself and the people around you.
Wear a lifejacket. This is a non-negotiable for jet ski safety, lifejackets are compulsory. Irrelevent of how you think you look and how well you can swim! Secondly, use the vehicle’s safety precautions – the manuals that come with vehicles are incredibly important for using them correctly and avoiding accidents. Drivers should also attach the engine stop lanyard to their wrist at all times, in case of emergencies.
Always be aware of your surroundings. It’s easy to get caught up in the moment once you get the hang of handling the jet ski, but other boats, skiers, divers, or swimmers could be in your general area. If you cross the wake of another boat you can impair your own vision of approaching craft, as well as making it difficult for craft heading in your direction to see you quickly enough to divert course. Furthermore, not knowing who or what is near you could lead to serious injury!
No one under the age of 18 should be allowed to drive a jet ski alone. Manufacturers generally recommend the age limit to be 16 but not all laws agree with this recommendation. If anyone under 18 wants to ride, never let them ride alone – they can ride with an adult seated behind.
You would think this would be obvious but it happens all the time. Jet skiing is a fun and casual summer hobby, but many new riders do not realise exactly how dangerous it can be. Riding under the influence increases the risk of collisions, as you are less likely to discern safety hazards, other riders and swimmers, and more likely to become distracted. Of course, the same rules apply while being a passenger, too. Intoxication for anyone involved is a risk.
Beginner riders can put themselves and others at risk by speeding, especially as they are not fully aware of the capabilities of their jet ski. Ensure jet ski safety by keeping your speed below six knots if you are within 60 metres of people in the water or moored boats. Speed is better left to experienced skiers, and even then, it should be treated with caution.
Maintain a distance of at least 20 metres from other crafts in the water. Remember that coming close to another boat or jet ski can be reckless and will certainly cause collisions. Take particular care near the shoreline; this includes heading back to land after a session out on the water. Swimmers can be hard to spot in choppy swell as you return to shore, so make sure you keep your speed down and your senses alert on the way in.
There you have it, Natal Power Boats’ safety guide for this festive season’s jet ski ride. Remember to keep your jet ski well-maintained. All craft owners have a general obligation to keep their jet ski in good condition when in use and to use it wisely. Oil or fuel spills can cause environmental damage, and rescuers will have to place their own lives at risk if you become stranded on a defective jet ski. Most importantly, remember to take care and have fun!