If you have spent any time in the oceans and lakes across Florida, then you have probably watched more than a few people riding around through the waves on jet skis. When properly used, jet skis provide a thrilling adventure that is sure to become one of your favorite pastimes. These vehicles, however, can be dangerous, or even deadly, if not used safely. Protect yourself and others by always following these safety tips and by investing in jet ski insurance.
The 14 Jet Ski Safety Tips You Don’t Want to Forget
1. Slow Down
Whipping back and forth on your jet skis sounds like a lot of fun, but it is also infinitely easier to get hurt or cause someone else to become injured if you are going too fast. Most jet skis are capable of hitting top speeds of 40-50 mph, but reaching those high levels would be ill-advised a lot of the time. Slow down and enjoy cruising around the water at a lower speed, especially if you are still learning how to control the jet ski.
2. Always Wear a Life Jacket
There is no exception to this rule. Wearing a life jacket at all times while on the water is a must. People who fall from a jet ski hit the water hard, and it can cause them to pass out. No one ever plans to fall off, so it always feels like a surprise when it happens to you.
A life jacket will keep your head above the water if you are unconscious. Even if you are alert and awake, the waves that have been made in the wake of the jet ski can pull you under quickly. Without a life jacket, the wake can be deadly.
3. Wear the Safety Key or Lanyard
Most newer jet skis come equipped with a safety key that turns the jet ski on. When this key is ejected, it will cut off the engine immediately.
Wearing the lanyard around your neck will ensure that it is pulled from the ignition if you fall from the watercraft, keeping the jet ski from running amok if it has no driver. It will also keep it close so you can swim back over to it and hop back on quickly if you are uninjured.
4. Wear Sunblock
Most people don’t realize just how strong the sun is while out on the water. Without being able to change positions or find shade while in the driver’s seat, any part of your body that is exposed to the sun will become burned without sunblock or protective clothing. Drivers who are enjoying the water can find themselves exposed to the sun for hours at a time.
5. Wear Eye Protection
The spray that comes from the jet ski cutting through the water can be quite strong. It is powerful enough to cause serious damage to your eyes. Wearing eye protection, especially ones with polarized sun-filtering properties, will help you continue to see safely even when the sun is bouncing off of the water. An even better level of protection would be to wear a helmet that has built-in eye protection.
6. Pass Other Watercraft With Caution
Especially when crowded! But even when it feels like the recreational vehicles on the water are at a minimum, be wary when crossing the wake of a large boat or another jet ski. Doing so can block your view of an oncoming vehicle, limiting your reaction time and creating a potentially dangerous situation.
7. Carry a Whistle
Wearing a whistle around your neck or wrist can alert passersby of your distress at a much higher decibel than your voice. You will need to conserve your energy to tread or swim through the water, and a whistle is more effective at getting help since it can be heard over the sound of the waves and motors.
8. Adhere Strictly to Age Laws
Most states have strict age laws when it comes to operating watercraft. Florida requires jet ski drivers to be at least 14 years of age to drive alone, and it is always recommended that an adult stays nearby while the watercraft is in operation.
9. Operate Jet Skis During Daytime Hours Only
It is extremely dangerous to operate jet skis at night. During the daytime, it is much easier for the driver to see where they are going, and sunlight also makes rescue efforts more successful, when needed. Stay on course and prevent running into any other objects out on the water by only jet-skiing during the day.
10. Never Drive Under the Influence
Drinking alcohol or consuming any mind- or body-altering substances before or while operating a jet ski is not only dangerous, it’s illegal in the state of Florida. Save your victory toast until after you are completely done riding the watercraft and are back on dry land.
11. Adhere to a Maintenance Routine and Get Jet Ski Insurance
Just like your car, boat, or any other vehicle, jet skis need routine maintenance in order to keep them running properly. If your jet ski is not adequately cared for, you can run into trouble while out riding. Keep every part of your watercraft functioning well to not only extend the life of your vehicle but to keep you safe on the water. Investing in jet ski insurance will help keep your out-of-pocket costs low should you acquire damage.
12. Obey the Rules of the Water
Just like when you’re driving on the road, veer right if another boat is coming toward you. Let other vehicles pass and never attempt to speed up to cut in front of another watercraft. Be a defensive driver and pay close attention to what others are doing around you. Always err on the side of caution when it comes to interacting with or passing other boats.
13. Observe the Right of Way
Boats and larger vessels have the right of way in the water over jet skis. If it looks like you are about to cross paths with another jet ski, the watercraft to your right has the right of way. This is when it is important to practice being a defensive driver and always be on your guard. Other drivers may not know the rules of the road, so it may be up to you to keep everyone safe.
14. Practice Good Etiquette
Practicing good etiquette while on the water will keep everything running smoothly, and will keep others happy and calm. Good etiquette doesn’t just help keep you aware of your surroundings, but it creates a better environment for everyone to enjoy.
Keep your vehicle quiet while near residential areas and always be on the lookout for swimmers or people lounging on the water. Continually scan the water for people who may be in your path or who may be struggling. Never dirty the waters with litter or pollutants.
Adhering to basic rules and etiquette when out on the water will help everyone have a great time, and ensure you and your jet skis go home safely at the end of the day. Your recreational vehicles are quite an investment, and our team of experts is ready to discuss all of your options for protecting them. Contact us today at iInsure and let us find you the best policy to meet your needs and save you money.