Safety on the Water: Tips for Personal Watercraft Use
Personal watercrafts provide a great amount of fun, but accidents do happen. While relatively few people get injured on a personal watercraft, when they do, injuries can be very serious. Here are a few tips for you to stay safe on the water:
Read the owner's manual- knowing the ‘ins’ and ‘outs’ of your personal watercraft can be very important especially if it malfunctions.
Wear a life vest- choose one with a whistle attached to can alert others if necessary.
Weather- check the forecast to be sure conditions are appropriate to be on the water - hyper or hypothermia can be a very serious risk.
Do not drink and operate- this is very dangerous, irresponsible and may be illegal.
Use the emergency shut off tool- typically found on a lanyard that you wear a around your wrist, this device shuts off the vehicle when pulled out.
Use caution when riding the waves- this can cause your personal watercraft to flip very easily.
If you fall off, make sure other watercrafts can see you- use your whistle to get their attention.
Stay away from swim areas – because people in swim areas are often difficult to see in the water, try to avoid these areas altogether.
Wear protective gear- along with your life vest, you will be better protected if you have on a wet suit and gloves.
Do not use your watercraft at night- in most places this is illegal.
Take a safety course – learn how to enjoy your personal watercraft safely.
Do not forget, personal watercrafts do not have brakes- you need to give yourself plenty of clearance to let the engine slow down on its own.
Bigger, not better- with some exceptions, anything larger than you in the water has the right of way.
Look around before turning- it is easy to become distracted and forget to look out for other people when you are having fun.
Be Clean - make sure you clean your personal watercraft after each use, before it goes back in the water, to prevent the spread of chemical contamination.
Fuel up- be sure you have plenty of gas in your personal watercraft. Being stranded in the water is both no fun and unsafe.
Your watercraft is your responsibility- if you’re letting someone else ride your watercraft, make sure they understand all of the rules on the water and know how to use it properly.
Have insurance- make sure you have insurance and that your policy is up to date.