Personal watercraft have become more and more popular on the waterways. And no wonder. With the adrenaline rush of instant acceleration, skimming over the water and waves at brisk speeds, coupled with the ability to turn like any other watercraft, personal watercraft can be a blast. There are stand-up and sit-down models with various engine sizes ranging from 550cc to 1494cc, which can generate speeds up to 70mph.
While riding a personal water is an exhilarating experience, the operator and passenger have to have fun safely. Personal watercraft are involved in a lot of accidents because of their speed. It’s no surprise that in the event of the accident, injuries can be catastrophic because you’re completely exposed. There’s no cabin to protect you.
So before you power up, consider these DO’s and DON’TS:
- Before you buy, remember that there is a learning curve. Start with a lower powered personal watercraft and progress to the more powerful models as your ability and experience increases.
- Ask your personal watercraft retailer to provide you with an instructional how-to video.
- Learn safe operation from an experienced and safe operator.
- Give the personal watercraft some throttle and lean in the direction of your turns, otherwise it is very likely you will lose control and fall.
- Don’t jump wakes, you may jeopardize yourself and other boaters.
- Wear personal flotation devices, and provide them for passengers.
- Do give right of way to sailboats, commercial and fishing vessels.
- Give wide berth, stay aware of other watercraft, be courteous, and above all, be safe.
To learn more about personal watercraft safety, contact the US Coast Guard, local marine patrol, state boating authorities, US Power Squadron, or the American Red Cross.