How to Ride a Personal Watercraft (PWC)
Updated: June 13, 2018
Personal Water crafts have been around since the 1960s starting with Bombardier but quickly brought to popular market by Kawasaki Jet Ski. If you want to learn to ride a PWC, read the following steps.
Securely attach the PWC lanyard to your life jacket which has to be approved by the Coast Guard
Insist that all operators and passengers wear Coast Guard-approved life jackets at all times.
Insist that all operators know and observe the navigation rules of the state.
Observe the age-limit rules for all operators to be at least 16 years old.
Make sure that there is nothing in the water that could clog the water intake grate and that the PWC is started or ran in water AT LEAST 3 feet (0.9 m) deep. PWC engines can suck rocks and debris from the bottom in shallow waters resulting in a damaged or clogged impeller. Never operate a PWC in shallow water.
Like any other boat, look around before starting and slowly leave the dock.
Observe and pay attention to your PWC’s fuel level.
Idle in residential coves and slow-no-wake zones and do not exceed 5 mph (8.0 km/h).
Pay attention to changing weather conditions, such as thunderstorms that produce lightning, hailstorms, or winds that can produce huge waves and choppy waters.
Pay attention to submerged rocks, obstacles or hazards as well as currents and tide levels.
Know the rules. All boats which are underway and up on-plane are required to be AT LEAST 100 feet (30.5 m) from other boats and AT LEAST 150 feet (45.7 m) from shore or docks. The same rules apply to PWCs.
Pay attention to your surroundings and be polite and courteous to other boats, giving them a wide operating gap to navigate. Boats generally travel in a consistent linear pattern whereas PWC operators often ride in impulsive, erratic “freestyle” patterns of S curves, circles and figure eights, which substantially increase the potential for collision with a boat and may run afoul of the “rules of the road”.
Spatial disorientation and inattention can quickly result by being lost in the moment but increase the risk of being hit by another boat after having quickly but unwittingly maneuvered the PWC directly into the path of another boat’s immediate strike zone. Freestyle riding that includes radical maneuvers, high-speed spins, carves, jumps and tricks should be performed in a non-residential cove or remote area of the lake that is not subject to frequent boat traffic.
Do not jump the wake of another boat or linger behind a boat similar to as if the boat was pulling a water skier.
Do not spray other boats or docks with water while underway.
Do not weave through congested boat traffic.
When traveling with other PWCs, consolidate together as a small operating unit when navigating congested traffic with the intent of staying clear of other boats as a pack.
Do not harass or antagonize wildlife, such as duck or marine animals.
Be conscientious about how other users are using the reservoir, lake or park. Many other people came to the same place for peace and quiet. If it appears that PWC usage is infringing upon the rights of others to have solace, then ride to areas away from other people where no one will be disrupted. Being a public nuisance puts the entire sport at risk for everyone to face PWC bans and heighten restrictions.
Be polite to other boaters: everyone has the right to be on the water together. Respect begets respect.
A younger crowd could be more prone to show-off or attempt radical maneuvers without paying much attention to their surroundings which is the number one cause of collision-type accidents.
Excessive speed, inappropriate speed for the conditions, inattention, carelessness, reckless operation, alcohol consumption and willful or unintentional violations of the “Rules of the Road” are the leading or contributing factors toward PWC accidents.
A Personal Watercraft is not a toy. According to the United States Coast Guard, a PWC is classified as a “boat” which is subject to the same laws as any other vessel on the water. PWCs may endure greater scrutiny as they are required to yield to less-maneuverable vessels and are also restricted to day use due to lack of nighttime navigation lights, vessel length and seating configuration in which the rider is in closer proximity to the water.
Like all boats, nearly all PWCs do not have brakes, airbags or seat belts. Most PWCs also lack off-throttle steering which can easily cause a rider to unintentionally collide with another object due to inability to steer the watercraft unless throttle is applied – adding to increased risk of injury or death.
Speed on the water is relative to two to three times the speed on land. Highways speeds are typically 75 mph (121 km/h) whereas waterway traffic speeds for “runabout” boats less than 26 feet (7.9 m) is typically 25 to 40 mph (40 to 64 km/h) when underway and up on-plane.
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Updated: June 13, 2018
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Categories: Cars & Other Vehicles
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