Deckee's 2021 safety checklist for PWC and jet skis

26th February 2021 Jack O'Rourke

You can travel much faster and further on a PWC, jet ski, WaveRunner, or Sea-Doo. For this reason, you’ll need to pay close attention to boat traffic. 

Many boaters won’t be used to the rapid response and short turn radius, typical of a PWC. Give other watercraft plenty of space when overtaking them. Always look on both sides and behind you before making a turn. Never follow another boat to jump their wake - you could fall in the water and struggle in the artificial waves.

Riding a PWC can give you a thrill that kayaks and SUPs simply can’t. It’s that unique feeling you get when you splash through the sea at good speed, with your hair in the air and your hands firmly on the handlebars.

So, what safety gear do you need on a jet ski? Here’s our PWC safety checklist.

  1. Wear a non-inflating PFD

  2. Carry an emergency beacon such as an EPIRB or a PLB

  3. Check you have a fire extinguisher approved for marine use

  4. Carry the vessel’s registration

  5. Have a marine whistle or air horn handy

  6. Bring an emergency engine cutoff lanyard

  7. Carry a backfire flame arrestor and passive ventilation system

  8. Take a water bottle and sunscreen

  9. Wear a rashguard and hat

  10. Bring in-date flares

  11. Check you have an anchor and line on board

  12. Have a VHF radio handy

  13. Bring your mobile phone

  14. Make sure there’s a bailer or manual bilge pump on the craft

  15. Bring your PWC license (if mandatory in your country)

If you plan to go out for more than an hour or two, or to travel further, you’ll also want to take:

  1. A compass

  2. Charts

  3. GPS

  4. A towline

Remember that, even though a PWC doesn’t have a keel or rudder, the water pressure from the jet pump can damage the sea bed in shallow spots. And, finally, before heading out, check that everything on the craft works properly.