Personal watercraft (PWC), commonly referred to as ‘jet skis’ or ‘water scooters’, are a frequent sight on beaches among those seeking recreation on the open water.
Jet skis are specifically designed with floatation foam built into their hulls so that if they take on water, the bow will remain afloat. As a consequence, the personal watercraft will not completely submerge, however, they can partially sink.
The damage which can stem from a jet ski being immersed in water may be significant and could result in very costly repairs especially if the engine is flooded.
A brief history of the PWC
Jet Ski is an actual trademark of Kawasaki, the Japanese heavy equipment company renowned for motorcycles and engines. Their brand of personal watercraft, the jet ski, made its debut in the United States in 1972 in the stand-up version of the PWC.
Jet Ski, Sea-Doo, and WaveRunner are among the three most popular brands of personal watercraft, and whose names are used interchangeably to refer to all recreational vessels of this nature.
This PWC has seen several iterations throughout the years and is one of the most commercially successful brands of personal watercraft. There are several types of jet skis ranging from one-person vessels to those made for accommodating up to four people simultaneously.
Can water damage a Jet Ski?
Jet skis are equipped with drain plugs which aid in the drainage of excess water once the vessel has been removed from the ocean. This water extraction is typically the residual effects of the PWC being out in the water.
If these drain plugs are not replaced before the jet ski is put back into the water, it leaves room for the vessel to take on much more water than normal and the jet ski could overturn.
The engine may then get flooded and other metal parts can become very quickly corroded, especially from saltwater. In addition, there could be other mechanical failures, resulting mold, and the ensuing underperformance of the jet ski.
Experts highly recommend that in the event of a jet ski becoming submerged, it is immediately removed from the water and taken to a dealer before further damage occurs.
The dealer can take steps to dry the engine components and prevent more permanent damages, thereby possibly rendering the jet ski useless.
Are Jet Skis safe to use?
Jet skis are not for the faint of heart and are more suited for persons who may be described as adrenaline junkies. They are considered fun due to their high speeds and the excitement associated with the uninhibited freedom of being out in the open water.
Personal watercraft such as jet skis can hit up to 70 miles an hour so one must take care to operate them safely. It becomes increasingly difficult to manage once the vessel gets up to 50 miles per hour and it could prove perilous in choppy waters, becoming impossible to avoid potential hazards in the waterway.
Common guidelines for operating a jet ski safely include learning the controls, wearing a life jacket, paying attention to safety guidelines, avoiding drinking while driving, not overcrowding the PWC, and not operating while intoxicated.
Why are Jet Skis so popular?
Jet skis are extremely popular among bon vivants, thrill-seekers and others looking to enhance their enjoyment of open water recreational activities.
It is a fun adventure which may be enjoyed by persons of all ages, whether for leisure or for sport.
The PWCs come in stand-up varieties for individual riders or the sit-down versions which riders may use to enjoy the water with a passenger or two.
Enjoying your Jet Ski responsibly
As with any motorized high-powered equipment, heavy machinery, vehicle, or vessel, there are risks associated with operating a personal watercraft.
Owing to the design of the jet ski, it is difficult for it to flip over while being operated, but it could still happen. As a novice, it might be necessary to practice slowly at first in order to gain confidence and become familiar with the jet ski before pushing it to its limits.
Knowing how to reboard after falling off your PWC could be one important tidbit for anyone wishing to enjoy this high-speed hobby.
Being cautious and aware, and paying strict attention to the rules while having fun on the high seas can also prevent accidents, damage to the jet ski, or personal injury.
It is therefore incumbent on the operator to observe recommended guidelines and follow checklists and safety measures to ensure personal and others safety when driving a jet ski.