Couple riding a jet ski for the first time.

Best practices for first time jet ski riders

Jet ski tips for your first time on the water.

When it comes to riding a jet ski for the first time, be prepared and exercise safety. The more prepared you are, the more fun you can safely have on the water. Review these jet ski riding tips to help get you started.

  • Consider taking a U.S. Coast Guard-approved safety course.
  • Ensure the jet ski is registered and the registration numbers are visible.
  • Become familiar with jet ski controls and operation before you put it in the water by reading the owner's manual.
  • Do not exceed the maximum seat capacity of your machine.
  • Do not run your jet ski in shallow water — check that the water is at least 3 feet deep.
  • Be aware that most jet skis have greatly diminished or no steering without application of the throttle.
  • Understand boating rules such as overtaking another vessel and right of way rules.
  • Practice loading and unloading the watercraft from the trailer.

Jet ski gear

  • Coast Guard-approved flotation devices for the operator and every passenger — life jackets must be worn
  • Ignition safety lanyard — to disable the jet ski engine if an operator is thrown from the machine
  • Waterproof sunscreen
  • Sunglasses — to help block water spray and wind
  • Gloves — to help protect your hands and provide extra grip
  • Water shoes to help protect your feet
  • Wetsuit or drysuit — depending on weather and water conditions

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Jet ski equipment

  • Coast Guard-approved fire extinguisher
  • Basic first aid kit
  • A dry bag — to store important items such as papers and cell phones
  • Sound signaling devices — such as an air horn or whistle
  • Distress signaling devices — such as a mirror, flares or orange flag
  • Small jet ski anchor
  • Paddle or oar — if your jet ski battery dies, runs out of gas or you get stuck
  • Floating dock line — to tie off to another machine for a tow, if needed
  • Navigation lights — when the watercraft is used at night or in low light conditions
  • Charts for navigation and a compass — depending on the waterway

Learn more about jet ski safety and contact your State Farm® agent to check if your jet ski is properly insured.

The information in this article was obtained from various sources not associated with State Farm® (including State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company and its subsidiaries and affiliates). While we believe it to be reliable and accurate, we do not warrant the accuracy or reliability of the information. State Farm is not responsible for, and does not endorse or approve, either implicitly or explicitly, the content of any third party sites that might be hyperlinked from this page. The information is not intended to replace manuals, instructions or information provided by a manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional, or to affect coverage under any applicable insurance policy. These suggestions are not a complete list of every loss control measure. State Farm makes no guarantees of results from use of this information.

State Farm Fire and Casualty Company
State Farm General Insurance Company
Bloomington, IL

State Farm Florida Insurance Company
Winter Haven, FL

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