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Hot summer temperatures are prompting Jet Skiers to take to the water in search of fun ways to cool down. Riding a Personal Watercraft (PWC) is a fun water activity, but it also carries risks for the riders and those who share the waves. Here are a few rules to follow while operating your PWC — to ensure we all stay safe and have fun!

Invest in a proper life jacket. Your personal safety should take priority while out on the water. In the same way the quality of sporting equipment can vary, so can the quality of life jackets and other safety gear. Be sure to do your homework and read reviews and specifications of the life jacket you are considering purchasing. Review our safety section on Life jackets. Also, be sure to try it on before you buy.

Do not operate a Jet Ski at night. As you already know from driving a boat at night, operating a vessel after dark can be dangerous. You may not see other boats on the dark waters — and they may not see you, as most PWCs do not have any navigation lights.

Learn how to swim. This may seem like a no-brainer, but there are occasions when people brave the waters and assume a life jacket will save their life should they fall off a boat or personal watercraft. To enroll in a swim course, contact your local Red Cross chapter or YMCA/YWCA.

Be aware of other water users. Before you take off on your Jet Ski, observe your surroundings. Keep an eye out for other boaters and swimmers. Larger boats may not see you, and you may not see a person swimming in the water.

Be conscious of speed limits. Local regulations regarding the speed limits of watercraft are typically easy to find. It is your responsibility to know the speed limit, and keeping within those limits can help guarantee a safer experience. One of the most common Jet Ski accidents is caused by collisions, which are sometimes avoidable, had those enjoying the craft maintained proper speed.

Never ride a PWC without attaching the safety-switch lanyard to you. A safety lanyard should be worn at all times when operating a PWC. The lanyard will immediately cut the engine should you fall off. This will keep the craft from causing an accident and you from having to swim to shore.

United Marine Underwriters is more than just boat insurance. Browse our Boats For Sale at BoatBrowser or our Lake Resource Guide at LakeBrowser or share your fishing stories and photos at True Fish Tales – the ones that did not get away.

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2 Responses to Personal Watercraft Safety

  1. Bernie Becker says:

    It is a natural tendency, in a panic situation, to let off the gas. With no throttle, there is no stearage. Experienced drivers know this but very few, riding for the first time do. You may want to add a comment about lack of control with no throttle.

  2. Eddy Caselnova says:

    This might sound obvious but another PWC safety tip is do not ride around anchored vessels. Unfortunately there have been way to many deaths by decapitation caused by circling an anchored boat at speed and hitting the anchor rode with ones neck.

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