Who doesn’t love the thrill of zipping up and down Florida’s Atlantic coast on a jet ski? These recreational vehicles are a great way to catch some waves and have fun in the sun, but not without some risk. Before you climb aboard a jet ski, make sure you’re prepared!
Inspecting Your Equipment
Whether you rent or own, it’s important to inspect your jet ski and safety gear prior to going out for a spin. If you’re renting, make sure it’s from a reputable company that follows Florida’s laws for liveries including a check ride, pre-rental instruction, and posted safety information.
- Check for any visible signs of damage, especially on the underside of the jet ski.
- Start the motor and listen to ensure everything sounds like it is in working order.
- Make sure you have enough fuel to return to shore after your ride.
- Check your personal flotation device (PFD) to ensure there are no rips, frayed straps, or broken closures.
Prepare For Your Jet Ski Ride
- If the driver was born on or after January 1, 1988 he/she must complete a National Association of State Boating Law Administrators boating education course and have obtained a boating education ID card as well as a photo ID.
- Wear appropriate safety gear such as a wetsuit, goggles, gloves, and water shoes.
- Attach the stop lanyard to your wrist, PFD, etc.
- Check the weather to ensure no storms are expected and watch the marine report for choppy water, rip currents, and wind advisories.
- Ride only in spots well away from swimming areas, marinas, “no wake” zones.
Follow the Florida Jet Ski Laws
- Riders must be at least 14 years old to operate and 18 years old to rent a jet ski.
- Riders must either have an observer on board watching the driver’s surroundings for hazards or if riding solo, use a wide-angle rear-view mirror.
- Riders may not operate a jet ski 1/2 hour after sunset or 1/2 hour before sunrise.
- Riders must wear a U.S. Coast Guard approved PFD of type I, II, III or V.
- Riders must not operate a jet ski while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- If a jet ski is being towed by another vessel, the vessel operator must not tow them close enough to a fixed object or another vessel if it creates a risk of collision.