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Best practices for first time personal watercraft riders

Handy tips on your first time out on the water.

Jet ski on the beach.

When it comes to using your personal water craft (PWC) for the first time, the key words to remember are preparation and safety. Don’t just jump in and get your feet wet before following the helpful tips below. The more prepared you are now, the more fun and thrills you can safely have later out there on the water.

  • Become very familiar with its operation and maintenance before you put it in the water for the first time by reading the owner’s manual.
  • Be aware that most PWC’s have greatly diminished or no steering without application of throttle.
  • Always wear Coast Guard approved flotation devices for operator and every passenger (these must always be worn).
  • Always have the minimum Coast Guard required safety items on board such as: fire extinguisher and a signaling device.
  • Be sure to check local waterway regulations where the PWC will be operated.
  • Ensure the PWC is registered and the registration numbers are visible.
  • Don’t forget to maintain the trailer if the PWC is transported via a trailer.
  • Most PWC’s are exempt from needing navigation lights. However, if you ride after dark they are required.
  • Become familiar with basic seamanship and navigation rules such as overtaking another vessel and right of way rules.
  • Take a US Coast Guard approved Safety course.
  • Use waterproof sunscreen - because let’s face it, these watercraft are predominately used on nice sunny days.

Learn more about personal watercraft safety and remember to contact your State Farm® agent to make sure your watercraft is properly insured.


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