ARE YOU LEGAL ?
SAFETY FIRST !
So part two covers some less obvious, but still important aspects of Personal WaterCraft Safety.
DON'T GO OUT ALONE !
Always go with company that can either assist or call for help if a situation becomes dangerous.
All motor sports have a hazard element which can be reduced by common sense and adhering to some simple principles.
The basics are the same for any potentially hazardous undertaking: Understand your equipment, your abilities and the risks involved in your activity.
By putting safety first, you can avoid unnecessary injury to others and yourself. Humans have an innate talent for over-estimating their capabilities - you might want to watch out for that.
Understanding Your Jet Ski
A Jet Ski is a lot of fun - it's also a highly tuned and sophisticated piece of marine automotive technology. As such, it requires and totally deserves careful operation, regular maintenance, safety checks and whole lot of respect.
The simple description of a Jet Ski:
A high powered water pump that sucks in water at the front and sprays it out from the back - moves insanely fast - You sit on it, steer it and try not to fall off and/or collide with anything.
Buoyancy & Displacement - Why does something float?
Floatation is based on the scientific concept of Fluid Displacement. If something displaces a greater mass of a given fluid (e.g. water) than it's own mass, then it will float. The same concept also applies to gases and the example of a balloon being able to fly or more accurately 'float' in the air.
The concept of displacement is the origin of the yacht joke:
Q - What is a yacht?
A - A hole in the water that you pour money into.
To some extent that could be repurposed to include any PWC ;-)
More to come ...
Understanding Your Own Jet Skiing & Watersport Abilities
If you are starting out, assessing your own capabilities is usually easy - you don't really have any - which is to be expected, you're a beginner.
It gets more dangerous once you've clocked up some hours and some confidence, because now you're no longer a beginner. Even though you might now think you know what you're doing, you're still not an expert. This will be the period where you are most likely to become a danger to yourself and others (sometimes also referred to as 'a statistic').
Confidence is a great thing when it helps us overcome fear, but early over-confidence can also lead to carelessness (and subsequent unintended disaster).
Sadly, when heavy, high-power machinery is involved, carelessness quite often leads to hospitalisation. I would strongly recommend against carelessness. Absolutely enjoy your sport, but always stay focused.
An instructor is a valuable way to get an objective appraisal of your Jet Skiing abilities. An instructor can also provide pointers on what you may be doing wrong, or could be doing better. A club environment might also provide opportunities to learn from more experienced Jet Ski riders. Both organised club events and even Jet Ski tours can provide useful additional experience, as well as entertainment.
Never be afraid to admit that you don't know everything ;-)
Personal fitness is a very important consideration for Jet Skiing. It is a very physical activity. You might think that if you are wearing a PFD (Personal Flotation Device), that you've got it covered. If you are not with a tour or group, where you can readily ask for help, fitness becomes a very real concern.
But seriously, how far can you swim? (Just FYI: the recommendation is usually between 25 and 30 metres). What if you become separated from your Jet Ski, find yourself in a rip, heading out to sea? What if you have to swim at least 50 metres?
Of course, you really shouldn't be alone - that would have been your first mistake.
But, can you reasonably manage that situation? For example: Are you strong enough to swim away from (usually across) the rip and get back to shore, or to your now unencumbered watercraft (assumes it's not already off with the dolphins and heading for the shipping lanes).
Understanding the Basic Risks and Hazards of Jet Skiing
Following right on from the personal fitness topic ... A Jet Ski is NOT the water equivalent of a motorcycle.
There is nothing like Roadside Assist, except perhaps around patrolled beaches - where, chances are, they don't allow Jet Skis anyway. So, being a powered watercraft, it can fail, breakdown and/or shit-itself. Awkward, right?
A Jet Ski is a lot of fun - Just because it can be fun, doesn't mean it's a toy. A Jet Ski is also potentially lethal.
Physics! When things moving at high speed stop abruptly, that energy has to go somewhere. If a human body is involved in this energy transaction, there is a high probability that shortly thereafter an ambulance will also be involved.
Injury to others in the water is always a risk when riding a Jet Ski and is the primary reason why Jet Skis are not allowed at or near many popular beaches and resorts.
Regardless of how observant you might think you are, you can't avoid what you can't see. That swimmer or diver who suddenly comes up for air in front of you. The surfer just behind the wave you are about to crest. Before you can say 'Xxxx!' (insert 4 letter expletive of choice), you will probably have hit them.
SHARE with CARE:
Stay away from popular public and surf beaches that are already in use. If there are others in the water, give them priority. Jet Ski and PWC riders need every bit of good PR they can get.
Jet Skis may even be banned at some locations, in which case you could be fined if you inadvertently ride there. Be aware of any usage restrictions in place at the beaches, lakes and rivers you go to. These may include a minimum operating distance from shore and restricted access/launch locations. A variety of distance and speed restrictions apply, often location dependant. Always be informed.
Thanks to the 'Hoons' (I know that's not you, because you wouldn't have bothered reading this far if you were, right?), some Australian states will legislate to further restrict Jet Ski use. So once again, the few are ruining it for the many. Nothing new really. The same has happened with Dirt Bikes and 4WDs. Some people are just arseholes (damn, did I just say that out loud?) and unfortunately, we have to put up with them.
In case you missed it - Jet Ski Safety for Beginners - Part 1
Thanks for taking the time - Be smart, enjoy your sport, stay safe and lookout for others!
Incept Date: Wizard - 200326
Last Update: Wizard - 200401