How to Ride a Personal Watercraft (PWC)

Personal watercraft have been around since the 1960s, with Bombardier being the first, but the Kawasaki Jet Ski being the first to bring them to a wider audience. If you want to learn how to ride a personal watercraft, follow the steps outlined below.


1. Make a secure connection between your PWC lanyard and your life jacket, which must be approved by the Coast Guard.

2. Insist that all operators and passengers wear life jackets that have been approved by the Coast Guard at all times.

3. Insist that all operators know and observe the navigation rules of the state.

4. Observe the age-limit rules for all operators to be at least 16 years old.

5. Inspect the water to ensure that there is nothing in it that could clog the water intake grate and that the PWC is started or run in water that is AT LEAST 3 feet (0.9 m) deep before proceeding. The impeller of personal watercraft engines can become damaged or clogged when they sucking up rocks and debris from the bottom of shallow water. Never operate a personal watercraft in shallow water.

6. Like any other boat, look around before starting and slowly leave the dock.

7. Observe and pay attention to your PWC’s fuel level.

8. Idle in residential coves and slow-no-wake zones and do not exceed 5 mph (8.0 km/h).

9. Keep an eye out for changing weather conditions, such as thunderstorms that produce lightning, hailstorms, or winds that can cause huge waves and choppy waters, among other things.

10. Pay attention to submerged rocks, obstacles or hazards as well as currents and tide levels.

11. Understand the rules. All boats that are underway and up on a plane must be at least 100 feet (30.5 metres) away from other boats and at least 150 feet (45.7 metres) away from the shore or docks in order to comply with the law. The same rules apply to personal watercraft (PWCs).

12. Make sure you’re paying attention to your surroundings and being courteous to other boats by providing them with a large operating gap to navigate through. When compared to boats, personal watercraft operators frequently ride in impulsive, erratic “freestyle” patterns consisting of S curves, circles, and figure eights. This significantly increases the likelihood of colliding with a boat and may cause them to violate the “rules of the road.”

Spatial disorientation and inattention can occur quickly as a result of being caught up in the moment, but they also increase the risk of being struck by another boat if the PWC is manoeuvred quickly and unintentionally directly into the path of another boat’s immediate strike zone while in the moment. The practise of freestyle riding, which includes radical manoeuvres, high-speed spins, carvings, jumps, and tricks, should be done in a non-residential cove or remote area of the lake where there is no frequent boat traffic.

13. Do not ride in the wake of another boat or linger behind a boat as if the boat were towing a water skier, for example.

14. Do not spray other boats or docks with water while underway.

15. Do not weave through congested boat traffic.

16. When travelling with other personal watercraft, group together as a small operating unit when navigating congested traffic with the goal of remaining clear of other boats as a group.

17. Do not harass or antagonize wildlife, such as duck or marine animals.

18. Keep an eye out for how other people are using the reservoir, lake, or park and be courteous to them. A large number of other people had come to the same location in search of peace and quiet. It is best to ride in areas away from other people so that no one will be disturbed if it appears that PWC usage is interfering with the rights of others to be alone. If you are considered a public nuisance, you put the entire sport at risk for everyone, as you may face PWC bans and increased restrictions.

19. Remember to be courteous to other boaters: everyone has the right to be on the water at the same time. Respect is contagious and breeds more respect.

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