Jet skiing is one of the most enjoyable water activities available for those who want to cruise or for the more adventuresome who want to tear across the waves. One of the most important things you need to know about your first Jet Ski ride is that these are not toys and are capable of speeds in excess of 40 mph. There are rules to be followed to keep you and your passenger’s, safe so that your day in the sun is one of, fond memories.
Put on Your Life Jacket
Each person operating or riding on a personal watercraft (PWC) are required to wear a Type I, II, III, or V, non-inflatable, personal flotation device. Be sure that life jackets are sized properly for each rider.
Hook up the Shut-Off Clip
Jet skis have a shut-off clip that attaches to your waist. In the event you are thrown off the machine, the clip pulls free and shuts it down so that it does not continue across the river without you. Jet skis are very stable but high speeds, fast turns, and wave motion can cause a spill and the shut-off clip is a safety feature you will appreciate if you go overboard.
No Wake Please
Now that you have your life jacket on and your shut-off lanyard in place, it is time to head for open water. When leaving the dock at Hayley’s Jet Ski and Boat Rental keep your speed below 10 mph. Once you are clear of other boats, you can increase your speed.
Take it slow – to Start
Before you twist the throttle wide-open, get a feel for the Jet Ski. It takes a bit of throttle to get up on the water and cruising along at 20 or 30 mph is a comfortable speed for beginners. As you get more familiar with the controls and the feel of riding increase the speed, and you will better understand the allure of this sport.
Keep it Straight
When first learning to ride a Jet Ski, many riders tend to focus on the handlebars or a spot just beyond the nose of the craft. This can cause you to turn when you intend to go straight. A best practice, in any craft, when on the water is to look just above the horizon. This will help you find a point to steer toward and will help you see other boats around you.
Practice your Turns
Turning is one of the most difficult things to learn on a Jet Ski. When going slow, it is not such a big deal, but when crossing the water at 30 mph, knowing how to turn properly can mean keeping your seat, or losing it. Begin by making turns at lower speed and avoid choppy water and the wakes of other boats while you are learning. Yes, you too will be able to wake jump, one day, but for now, learn the controls, get the feel of the Jet Ski, and enjoy.
Be Aware of Your Surroundings
The Indian River Lagoon spans 156 miles of coastline, part of which goes through Brevard County. There are many boaters on this expanse of water and you need to watch them when jet skiing. Large boats have the right of way, always, and you need to give them plenty of room to maneuver. The Indian River is rich with wildlife above the water and below and you need to be careful around these animals when boating on the river.
When leaving the dock, find a landmark you will remember. This will help when returning. Jet skis can be operated on Florida waters from one half hour after sunrise until one half hour before sunset, so watch the time when on the water or you might get a ticket.
Be Courteous of Other Boaters
If someone is anchored and fishing or swimming, find another area to play and practice your new moves. Likewise, take care when passing other boats, and leave them room to maneuver. Do not assume that they see you because like motorcycles on the road, a jet ski is harder for other boaters to see than are larger craft.
Summer may be ending but our Florida days will remain warm for months to come and now is the time for your first Jet Ski ride. Are you ready?