Water Safety - Boats and Jet Ski's

ps_sc_water_side.jpg Boats and Jet Ski's Safety Tips

  • Never operate a jet-ski or boat while under the influence of alcohol.
  • Never operate a boat or jet ski in swimming areas.
  • Always wear a personal flotation device when operating a boat or jet ski.
  • Jumping boat wakes on a jet ski may be fun, but it is also very dangerous! The wave height may block your vision of a swimmer or obstruction, and you may lose control of the water craft and fall off after landing. Jumping waves is a leading cause of fatal accidents on jet skis.
  • Before operating a boat or jet ski, check with a law enforcement agency to determine what laws apply. For example, many states set a minimum age for operating a water craft.

Below is an excerpt from Florida Statutes Chapter 327 pertaining to jet skis, wave runners, and other powered personal water craft (this is the 1994 supplement - check for changes with the Florida Marine Patrol):

"Personal water craft" means a small class A-1 or A-2 vessel which uses an outboard motor, or an inboard motor powering a water jet pump, as its primary source of motive power and which is designed to be operated by a person sitting, standing, or kneeling on, or being towed behind the vessel, rather than in the conventional manner of sitting or standing inside the vessel.

Section 327.39 Personal water craft regulated.

A person may not operate a personal water craft unless each person riding on or being towed behind such vessel is wearing a type I, type II, type III, or type V personal flotation device approved by the United States Coast Guard.

A person operating a personal water craft equipped by the manufacturer with a lanyard type engine cutoff switch must attach such lanyard to his person, clothing, or personal flotation device as is appropriate for the specific vessel.

A person may not operate a personal water craft at any time between the hours from one-half hour after sunset to one-half hour before sunrise. However, an agent or employee of a fire or emergency rescue service is exempt from this subsection while performing his official duties.

A personal water craft must at all times be operated in a reasonable and prudent manner. Maneuvers which unreasonably or unnecessarily endanger life, limb, or property, including, but not limited to, weaving through congested vessel traffic, jumping the wake of another vessel unreasonably or unnecessarily close to such other vessel or when visibility around such other vessel is obstructed, and swerving at the last possible moment to avoid collision shall constitute reckless operation of a vessel, as provided in s. 327.33(1).

No person under the age of 14 shall operate a personal water craft on the waters of this state.

It is unlawful for the owner of any personal water craft or any person having charge over or control of a personal water craft to authorize or knowingly permit the same to be operated by a person under 14 years of age in violation of this section. Any person who violates this subsection shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.