ARE YOU LEGAL ?
SAFETY FIRST !
DON'T GO OUT ALONE !
SHARE with CARE
KNOW Your LIMITS
IF YOU DRINK and DRIVE...
While the heading says 'Jet Ski Safety for Beginners', safety on the water is absolutely for everyone. It only takes a moment of distraction or foolishness to cause hurt and damage. Never take water safety lightly. Even relatively small accidents can quickly result in someone drowning.
ARE YOU LEGAL?
Is your Jet Ski registered and are you licensed to operate it?
Owning a Jet Ski is only fun when you can use it out on the water. Make sure your Jet Ski is registered, in good operating condition and you are appropriately licensed to enjoy it. Obtaining a Boating Licence will begin your journey toward Marine Safety.
SAFETY FIRST !
Wear a PFD (Personal Floatation Device) - Wear appropriate protective clothing (Neoprene Shorts or Wetsuit) - Protective Eyewear (Goggles) - Lanyard.
PFD (Personal Floatation Device - once called a Life Jacket):
In a nutshell - in Australia it is illegal to be out 'on the water' (as opposed to 'in it', swimming or surfing) without wearing a PFD. Most marine accidents resulting in loss of life involve a failure to comply with this most basic regulation.
PFD TYPE 1 AS1512
PFD TYPE 2 AS1499
PFD TYPE 3 AS2260
While there are different types, styles and brands, the one you wear must comply with Australian Standards.
A Type 1 PFD (AS1512) previously referred to as a 'Life Jacket', provides maximum floatation but imposes restricted mobility. Meaning that swimming is difficult. These are generally quite bulky and only used at sea where the emphasis is on prolonged floatation. They are designed to always keep the wearer's neck and head above water.
Type 2 (AS1499) PFDs previously referred to as 'Buoyancy Vests' and Type 3 (AS2260) PFDs formerly 'Buoyancy Garments', provide progressively less floatation, but are less bulky and allow greater mobility for swimming.
For Australian Jet Ski and other PWC operators either a Type 2 or Type 3 PFD is required - make sure that your PFD is up to the task
Protective Marine Clothing
Neoprene Wetsuits, Shorts, Vests - Protective Eyewear
Anyone who gets into Australia's colder southern waters probably won't need to be told that a full wetsuit is a good idea. The thermal properties of a good wetsuit will assist in keeping your core temperature stable when out in the wind and water for a few hours.
In warmer climates you may think that just some shorts and a T-shirt will do. But please consider that there may also be plenty of things that sting out there in the water with you - full wetsuit anyone? ;-)
As Water Skiers will already know, a layer of neoprene can also prevent water form being forced into a body cavity, should you happen to hit the water at high speed - absolutely not a joke!
Neoprene shorts and vest should be considered minimal safe attire.
Protective Eyewear - Copping a high speed spray of water in the face can damage your eyes and/or temporarily blind you. Not a desirable thing when you are fanging it across some waves.
The glare and UV from the water's surface will also be vicious and damaging. Protective eyewear is essential. Selecting eyewear with polarized lenses will dramatically reduce glare.
It's actually illegal to sell sunglasses in Australia that do not meet the Australian Standard - that doesn't mean there aren't heaps of these cheap frauds on the market - make sure you get the real thing and the protection you need.
Helmets for Jet Skiing - This comes under the heading of optional (unless you are racing). As a motorcyclist, I would probably have suffered too much head trauma to even be writing this if it wasn't for helmets. If your Jet Skiing exploits include great haste and/or proximity to other riders, rocks and/or similarly hard objects - consider a helmet a worthy investment.
Sunscreen / Sunblock for exposed skin protection - The further south you go, the greater the need will be, and the shorter the time to copping a sunburn. Down here in Tasmania, 20 minutes or less can absolutely fry your skin.
If you want to keep that soft skin, young and youthful look - Don't leave home without your SPF50+ sunscreen. Also remember that when in or on the water you may need to re-apply at regular, shorter intervals.
Speed Limits, Distances and Operating Times
It is the responsibility of Jet Ski riders to know and adhere to local speed limits and distancing requirements. They are not always the same, so you really do need to check.
In Australian waters speed restrictions of around 4 to 8 Knots (7.5 to 15 km/Hr) are generally in place while departing and returning to shore and also near any swimmers. Please - Never be in a hurry to hurt others.
The allowable operating distance from swimmers and the shore also varies by state. Some bayside locations near residential areas may also have noise level restrictions.
In some states Time Restrictions mean that Jet Skis and other Powered Watercraft can only be operated during daylight ours, or even between certain hours during the day (particularly near residential zones).
While most speed limits are imposed by the respective state, some may be bylaws put in place by local councils (similar to dog free beaches). See links below for details.
The Lanyard (Kill Switch Tether)
There is a large variety of lanyard options, varying from PFD to wrist attached versions. The function however is simple enough - if the lanyard pulls away from your PWC, the engine cuts out. A simple but effective means to prevent a riderless PWC from creating havoc and harm on the water. Lanyards are generally considered Jet Ski Parts (rather than accessories), because they are required by law.
Having a Lanyard of a suitable length and appropriate buoyancy is really the only choice required other than your selection of highly visible colour.
The Rogue Jet Ski / PWC Hazard
There are very good reasons for the plethora of regulations and restrictions on the use of Personal WaterCraft. The fun of riding PWCs aside, they are a very real potential hazard to the wellbeing of others in the water.
The speed limits and minimum distance restrictions to people in the water are an attempt to reduce that risk of harm. As a rider you need to accept that these only reduce the risk, they don't eliminate the risk. Your actions and behavior on the water really do matter!
Consider, some Personal WaterCraft have engines the size of a small car and weigh-in at half a tonne. While they are are designed to float (kinda handy), if you come off your PWC in a shore break, your beloved machine may end up tumbling through the surf. If there are swimmers or surfers in the way, you could inadvertently kill someone.
Water Safety is Your Responsibility - Please take it seriously!
See Also - Jet Ski Safety for Beginners - Part 2
Thanks for taking the time - Be smart, enjoy your sport, stay safe and lookout for others!
Incept Date: Wizard - 200326
Last Update: Wizard - 200401