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When you buy a new jet ski, you should be prepared for a lot of questions about it: “How fast does it go? And its acceleration? What about fuel consumption?”
If the jet ski is on the water, the final question is usually unavoidable: “Can I go for a quick ride?”
Depending on who asks, the answer can be a dilemma for you.
On one hand, you probably don’t want to hurt the feelings of your friend or relative. On the other hand, you probably feel that borrowing your jet ski could incur many risks.
Of course, every situation is different,. But it’s not the same situation if your experienced buddy wants to swap your skis on the open water, as if a newbie wants to ride near a crowded shore for the first time in their life.
One of the most common cases is when parents let their children operate their jet skis. So it’s good to know that lending your jet ski always involves risks, which can end in serious problems, especially if the operator is inexperienced or irresponsible (e.g., a young child).
Are you wondering what these risks might be? We, at JetDrift, have collected the most important ones with some other factors you need to consider if your friend asks to borrow your jet ski.
7 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Let Anyone Borrow Your Jet Ski
1. Accidents and Injuries
Let’s face it; jet skis are not small water toys anymore as they powered with 200-300 HP engines, accelerate like a Ferrari and can hit 67 mph easily. (Even the average models can reach the 50-55 mph at top speed.)
For newbies, their performance and speed are usually really scary on the water, even if they only ride as passengers! Therefor, operating a jet ski perfectly and safely needs practice and skills.
According to the U.S. Coast Guard’s yearly accident statistics, one of the main causes of jet ski accidents is the rider’s inexperience. The too much power and the lack of handling skills lead to accidents in many cases, or at worst, to death.
Keep that in mind before you lend your jet ski to a newbie! They may endanger not only themself, but also others on the water, or just make a wreck of your jet ski in a second.
2. Other Damage
Be aware that damage is never limited to serious accidents.
Missed pre-ride inspection is one of the leading causes of sunken jet skis, or in the worst case scenario, an explosion.
Not only can a sucked rope in the pump can cause serious headaches, but overlooked warning controls on the dashboard can end with a damaged engine or other parts.
Even if your friend is an experienced jet ski rider, it is more than likely that they didn’t read your jet ski owner’s manual. (Which every operator should read before the first ride.)
But even if they have all the necessary information, you can’t be sure that they’ll operate and maintain it as carefully as you do.
If something goes wrong, you probably expect your insurance (which you should) to cover the damage.
The bad news is that typically, insurance policies vary from contract to contract, and in some cases, the insurance doesn’t cover damage if you lend your jet ski to another person.
What’s more, every accident is different, e.g., your friend or third parties may be injured, or the property of others may be damaged.
Because of this, dealing with insurance companies could be a hassle, especially if you allow people to borrow your jet ski and your friend (or relatives) incur the accident.
The issue could be worse if they don’t meet the legal requirements (minimum age, licensing, etc.) as the insurance company can use this against you.
If your friend illegally operated your jet ski, this could be a problem in any case, even if he wasn’t responsible for the accident. In the worst case scenario, the insurance company may even completely deny your claim.
If your insurance doesn’t cover the damage (or it just exceeds the policy limits) you may have to cover the difference from your pocket. It could be shocking if your friend bumps into a multi-million dollar yacht with your jet ski!
But again, every insurance policy is different, so it’s highly recommended you check yours carefully in advance!
4. Legal Issues
Beyond the above, you also have to check the local laws before letting others drive.
In most states, the operator must have a Boating Safety Card (known as a jet ski license) and be the minimum age to operate a jet ski legally. Be careful, as the applicable laws may vary from state to state!
You can get in trouble, if you let somebody borrow your jet ski without complying with legal requirements, especially if they slam into a swimmer.
Let’s face it, jet skis are not cheap to buy and the maintenance costs are also high.
They can burn tons of gas, and the periodical maintenance of the jet ski, like yearly service, or supercharger rebuilds, all depend on the engine hours.
If you’re on a budget and lend your jet ski regularly, it’s good to know that these could be expensive favors.
Although the annual maintenance costs of a jet ski are close to a car, they usually run only 30 hours in a season, which ultimately means you can expect a high hourly cost.
If we’re honest and take account of everything, the hourly cost of a jet ski is at least around $50, which could be much more in the case of a performance model.
6. Ruining the Relationship
Borrowing is a sensitive issue as a lot of things can go wrong.
If you turn your friend down, you may hurt their feelings; the issue could be worse in case of a family member.
On the other hand, if you let him borrow your jet ski and something bad happens, both of you have to face several problems, and bad feelings as well.
In the worst case scenario, the issue may ruin the relationship completely. Because of this, in most cases, lending a jet ski is simply not worth the risk.
7. You Can’t Say “No”
If you lend your jet ski to one of your friends, you can be sure that many others will appear sooner or later. But if you’re known not to lend your ski to anyone, the other applicants will avoid it.
As they say, prevention is always better than the cure, so if someone asks to borrow your jet ski, the best you can do is to refuse it. Are you wondering what the most efficient way to do this is?
The best way is if you don’t complicate it at all; shortly and politely say “no” without making any excuses.
A lot of owners feel that they owe an explanation or excuse like low fuel level or imperfect weather conditions, etc. Don’t make that mistakel if you simply say “no”, you can be sure that they’ll never ask again.
If You Can’t Avoid Borrowing Your Jet Ski
Despite the risks involved, if you decide to lend your jet ski to a friend, here are some useful things to keep in mind.
Check the License and Insurance
When it comes to lending your jet ski, the first and most important question is: Does my friend have a Boating Safety Card? Beyond the license, the minimum age limit is no less important.
Be sure that your friend meets the legal requirements, and don’t forget to check your insurance policy.
Education and Preparation
Having the Boating Safety Card doesn’t mean that he can professionally operate your jet ski. Because of this, a detailed education about the controls is always recommended, with particular attention to the braking system.
You should show the location of the safety equipment, make sure that he wears life jackets and the necessary clothing for better protection, and he isn’t under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Use the Slow Key
If your jet ski came with a slow-key (aka “learning key”) it’s highly recommended lending out your ski programmed only with this key.
If you don’t have a learning key, turn on the “ECO” mode (or another lower-performance mode) if your jet ski features it. Unless your friend is an experienced rider, it’s safest if he operates the ski in this mode the whole time.
Stay on Board
The best insurance is if you stay on board as a passenger. You can advise your friend and also keep your eyes on him and the machine. Moreover, if something happens, e.g., he falls from the seat or even capsizes the jet ski completely, you can help him to resolve these issues immediately.
Towing with a jet ski also needs extra practice and skills. If you are a wakeboarder, you have to solve the problem that you can’t operate the jet ski and ride the wakeboard at the same time.
When you ask someone to tow you with your jet ski, be sure that your friend has enough experience. If he doesn’t know what he’s doing, even you can get hurt.
Make it Clear
If you loaned your jet ski without supervision, make the situation clear upfront. Let your friend know that he has to take responsibility for the jet ski and others on the water.
Also, inform him about the value of your jet ski, and the potential damage and risks.
When it comes to borrowing a jet ski, it’s always a touchy issue.
If you don’t feel comfortable lending yours, the best you can do is to simply but politely say no, without any further explanation. This is the best way to avoid similar questions in the future.
If you are open to lending your jet ski to your friends or relatives, you should be aware of the potential risks and dangers. If they’re inexperienced riders, things can easily go wrong on the water.
That’s why you have to make sure they’re the legal age as well as have a license to operate the jet ski. Beyond these, you also have to check the local laws to meet the requirements.
If they cause an accident, dealing with the insurance company could be also tricky. Make sure that you read the insurance policy in advance; it’s better to be safe than sorry.
It’s also good to know that even the smallest issue can ruin your relationship completely. In most cases, it’s simply not worth the risk!
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