Legally Operating a PWC
When you are driving a jet ski (or PWC), it is important to remember that all of the same rules apply to you as they do to boaters. You still need to have a boater's license if you were born after January 1st, 1984. There are also specific rules that apply to jet skis that you should know before going out.
For example, the following activities are illegal when driving a PWC:
- Weave in and out of traffic.
- Jump over other boats' wakes when you don't have a clear field of vision.
- Jump into the air within one-hundred feet of a boat.
- Go too fast (over a no-wake speed) when you're within fifty feet of another boat or person.
- Driving recklessly and swerving at the last minute.
- Operating under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
It's also important to note that you can be held liable if someone else illegally operates a jet ski that you own.
Steering and Stopping a PWC
Jet skis don't operate in the same way that boats do, so it's important to know how to drive and steer them before heading out on the water. Read through this description from the Official Missouri Boating Safety Course Online, and review their study guide to make sure you're fully prepared.
"PWC are propelled by a jet drive where water is drawn into a pump and then forced out under pressure through a steering nozzle at the back of the unit. This “jet” of pressurized water is directed by the steering control—when the steering control is turned, the steering nozzle turns in the same direction. For example, if the steering control is turned right, the nozzle turns right and the jet of water pushes the back of the vessel to the left, which causes the PWC to turn right.
The most important thing to remember about steering most PWC (and other jet-drive vessels) is that you always must have power in order to maintain control. If you allow the engine on a PWC or other jet-propelled vessel to return to idle or shut off during operation, you may lose all steering control. Many PWC will continue in the direction they were headed before the throttle was released or the engine was shut off, no matter which way the steering control is turned.
Always allow plenty of room for stopping. You may not stop immediately eve n after releasing the throttle or shutting off the engine. Even PWC that have a braking system do not stop immediately. Never use reverse (if equipped) to stop a PWC because you or your passengers could be thrown from it."
It's easy to get into trouble quickly when operating a jet ski because of how quickly they move. To stay safe, make sure you follow these guidelines.
- Always wear a life jacket.
- Don't drive too close to other vehicles or people.
- Always look both ways over your shoulder before turning or stopping suddenly.
- Be aware of all traffic in your area.
- Pay attention to blind spots - both yours and other boaters'.
- Passengers must sit behind PWC drivers, not in front.
- Keep loose items away from the pump intake.
- Never exceed the recommended capacity of the PWC.
BomBay Boat Rentals has the best jet ski rentals at the Lake of the Ozarks! We have four convenient locations for you to choose from in several locations on the Lake. While you have a great time on the Lake of the Ozarks, remember to stay alert and safe while you follow the rules and precautions above. Give us a call to make your reservation!
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