Now that you finally own your own jetski or PWC (Personal Water Craft), there is so much that you need to know before you get in the water to ride. It’s just like driving a vehicle on the road because there are rules and signs that need to be obeyed, even in the water. However, operating a PWC is different from driving a car or a motorcycle for there are no lanes or lines on the water to guide you on where and how to go. That is why knowing the basic rules of the road and the navigational aids are so important.
Let’s give you some basic skills to get you started.
Personal Safety Measures
- Each person riding on the PWC must wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved Type I, II, III or V personal floatation device or life jacket.
- If the PWC is equipped with a lanyard-type ignition safety switch, the lanyard must be attached to the person, clothing or life jacket of the operator.
- PWCs must be operated in a controlled, reasonable manner at all times.
- Do not weave through congested boating traffic.
- Do not jump the wake of another vessel.
- Do not swerve at the last moment to avoid collision (playing chicken).
Rules of the Water
- Do not operate a PWC within 200 feet of swimmers, divers, the shoreline, or moored vessels.
- When launched from shore or returning to shore, PWCs must proceed directly to the area where launching is allowed in a direction as near perpendicular as possible and not in excess of headway speed.
- When two watercrafts are heading towards each other, each must keep to their starboard (right).
- When crossing, the boat to the right has the right-of-way, just like a car at an intersection, and is called the stand-on vessel. This vessel maintains its’ course and speed. The give-way vessel should slow and turn to starboard if necessary, and carefully pass the stand-on vessel astern (behind or back of vessel).
- When overtaking another boat from the stern (behind), you are the give-way vessel. The boat being overtaken should hold course and speed. Pass with care on the right or left of the stand-on vessel.
- Boats such as commercial fishing boats, deep-draft ships, towing boats (tugboats), sailboats or other non-motorized vessels that have less maneuverability, all have the right-of-way over any PWC.
Navigational Aids – Buoys are the primary waterway marking system and they have very distinctive shapes, numbers, colors, lights and sounds to guide all boaters through the water safely. Here are some of the basic ones you should know.
- Lateral aids – Are used to mark traffic channels and indicate where it is safe to travel. They are lighted buoys, can buoys or daymarkers.
Junction buoys – Are used to mark the junction of two channels. If green is on the top, the preferred channel is to the right. If red is on the top, the preferred channel is to the left.
Other important non-lateral markers:
Now that you have some of basic safety features of operating a watercraft on the water, please note that as a vessel operator, you are just one of many who are enjoying the privilege of using the public waterways. It is your responsibility to stay aware of others in or on the water and to respect their use of the waterways. Remember that being a responsible operator includes maintaining a reasonable speed, heeding all of the buoys and markers and just use good common sense. With that you can have yourself a great time on the water!
Here at Donald J. Medeiros Insurance Agency our goal is to try to help our viewers by suggesting solutions about different topics of interest, as well as insurance needs. But, by no means can we address each reader’s specific concerns. So, we strongly advise to check with an expert on the subject area discussed to address your specific needs. However, you can always contact us for any insurance questions or concerns you may have and we will be happy to help you. We are able to offer a complete line of auto insurance, homeowners insurance and jetski insurance products for all of Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New Hampshire.Filed Under: Safety Tips, Watercrafts - Tips & Important Facts | Tagged With: channel markers, flotation device, jetski, personal water craft, U.S. Coast Guard, water safety, watercraft insurance