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What is the Risk When a Jet Ski Passes Too Closely Behind a Boat?

What is the Risk When a Jet Ski Passes Too Closely Behind a Boat?

If you’ve ever seen jet ski riders around other boaters, you’ve probably seen this problem: jet skiers jumping repeatedly into the boats’ wakes.

While wake jumping is tons of fun, jet ski riders don’t make too many friends this way. This activity is often disturbing to boaters, as it invades their privacy. Jet skis generate a lot of loud noise (especially while jumping) which is annoying for others who are nearby.

Also consider the spray and splashes, which can be also a problem for others if you pass them too closely.

But it’s not only the noise and spray which makes this activity undesirable, but it can be really dangerous and may in a serious accident!

You may be wondering what the risk is when a jet ski passes too closely behind a boat.

We, at JetDrift, have summarized this short answer below, followed by more safety tips and information.

What is the Risk When a Jet Ski Passes Too Closely Behind a Boat?

The main risk when a jet ski passes too closely behind a boat is the blind spot, which can cause a serious accident. This is because bigger boats can block the view of the jet ski driver, which means he can’t notice the oncoming vessels behind the boat.

As you can see, if a jet ski passes too closely behind a bigger boat, it can create a blind spot which increases the risk of a dangerous accident.

Because of this, it’s highly recommended you avoid jumping into other boaters’ wakes. It doesn’t just make the day more enjoyable for others, but can save you from accidents, injuries and even damaging your jet ski.

Tips to Avoid Collision With a Boat

The best practice is if you try to avoid crowded areas and shipping routes. If there are other, bigger boats around you, always keep a safe distance from them.

If it’s inevitable that you pass closely behind a boat, pay close attention to the blind spot, be extremely careful and maintain low speed. You also can’t go wrong if you stop your jet ski completely – or even reverse if needed!

Prevention is always better than cure, so it’s really important to try to do everything to avoid a collision on the water.

This is the reason why the United States Coast Guard’s fifth navigational rule is extremely important:“Every vessel shall at all times maintain a proper lookout by sight and hearing as well as by all available means appropriate in the prevailing circumstances and conditions as to make a full appraisal of the situation and of the risk of collision.”Beyond the general rules (and common sense) here is some additional advice on how you can avoid a collision caused by a blind spot. Always keep them in mind if you pass a boat closely with your jet ski!

  • Be extremely careful and watchful for the other vessels around you.
  • Always ride the jet ski slowly; no sharp turns or accelerations.
  • Avoid wake jumps or other stunts.
  • Beyond the boat itself, pay attention to anything that may create blind spots.
  • Try to always leave enough space to change your route if needed.
  • Your passenger should never sit in front of you on a jet ski!
  • Be watchful for others’ signals like skier or diver down flags
  • Never skip the necessary safety equipment!


As you now know, jumping across boats’ wakes or passing them closely doesn’t just disturb others, but it can be very dangerous as well!

This is because if a jet ski does pass too closely behind a bigger boat, it can create a blind spot that may lead to limited visibility.

Because of this, it’s highly recommended you keep a safe distance from other vessels. If you’re looking for high jumps with your jet ski, you should look to the waves on the ocean instead of the boats’ wakes.

Finally, it’s highly recommended you obtain a jet ski license (Boating Safety Course) even if your state doesn’t require it!

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