Personal Watercraft Safety Tips


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Stay Alive on your PWC.  Live for another trip.

Lake Mohave and Lake Mead have a few restrictions where PWC can be ridden.  Click Here to download a pdf map from the National Park Service showing these restrictions.

Below are some pointers for the novice riding personal watercraft, and a few even the experienced riders should consider.   If experienced and often loaning your craft out, you may want to print this safety list to give your friends when they ride your watercraft for the first time.

Be cool..... be safe

1.    Try to stay away from busy areas that have lots of personal watercraft.  Give yourself lots of room for error.
2.    Always assume your craft is invisible on the water to others, ride defensively.
3.    Glance and look both ways often, especially before turning.  This allows you to keep track of surrounding craft positions to avoid collision.
4.    Stay at least 150' away from other craft unless operating wake-less.
5.    No children under 14 can legally pilot a personal watercraft by themselves.  They can ride only as a passenger. 
6.    Make sure to observe and obey wake-less zone buoys near marinas, launch ramps, and beaches.
7.    Stay WAY CLEAR of fishermen.   The lake is huge, go somewhere else to play.   Respect for others will help us coexist for years to come.
8.  Stay WAY CLEAR of water skiers.  Remember, skiers like to go in straight lines.  Don't buzz around them making them alter their course of direction.  Respect for others and their sport is key to co-existing on lakes with other boaters.
9.    If renting a PWC, rent a 3-man craft.  The primary advantage of the larger 3-man craft is the stability of the boat, making it easier to board after you take a dip.  Due to being a little heavier they also ride much smoother, than lighter 2-man craft.  This helps you keep dry in choppy waters and they won't porpoise up and down as much also, making long distance rides more pleasurable with less fatigue afterwards.
10.    If your group has multiple craft, ride in pairs.   Never lose sight of your buddy.  Avoid riding alone, but if you do ride alone never lose sight of camp.
11.  Take snorkel equipment (assuming you can swim) for some choice snorkeling.
12.  Buy a "use-once" waterproof camera.    Use the whole roll.
13.  Get a map of the lake, keep track where you are, and watch your gas level.
14.  Don't forget to wear water socks, sunglasses, and use sunscreen.
15.  If going on 10+ mile long rides (always with another PWC) makes sure you have the tools and know-how to remove objects from the impellor.  Objects can get lodged in your impellor unless you have an eagle eye while riding, so keep watch while riding.
16.  Always carry a 15-25ft. rope for docking and towing purposes.
17.  Consider carrying a set of PWC jumper cables (smaller than car type) in case you have battery problems.  Remember, there's no kick starter.
18.  If going on a long rides often, consider investing in a 5watt marine radio.  It's good insurance and comes in handy occasionally.
19.  Never ride PWC back to camp with something in the impellor (vibrating or cavitating under power), as major $$damage may be the result.  You should tow it back, or idle to shore and remove the object from the impellor.
20.  Rent or buy a SeaDoo 3-man PWC.  Please don't send me a bunch of email.  Honda, Yamaha and Kawasaki make good reliable products and are OK, but if you ride and compare, you'll likely prefer the handling, predictability, dry-ness, and comfort of SeaDoo 3-man  craft.  Seadoo GTS, GTI, and GTX models are all good rentals.  But..... if you want a good motorcycle, go for the Yamaha or KTM!

most important:

Always remember, your PWC will not turn unless under power.  There is no rudder on most PWC (some high end Seadoos have auto retracting rudders now).   Turning is achieved from the thrust of turning massive amounts of water from the rear of the craft, which means the throttle must be partially on to make the craft turn.

If you're going 25mph then let off the throttle, turning the handlebars will not steer the boat as expected.  It will "pretty much" go straight even though the handlebars are turned.   

Tom's Law Equation: (for the mathematician)
@>20MPH + NO THROTTLE =  0 TURNING Ability = possible crash