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Jet Ski Safety Equipment: The Most Important Gear You Need

Jet Ski Safety Equipment: The Most Important Gear You Need

Safety is always the number one priority on the water, so you have to be prepared in advance at all times.

Unfortunately, there are more jet ski accidents around the world every year, including serious injuries or even death. Many riders, especially beginners,would like to learn how they can avoid accidents.

As they say, prevention is always better than cure, so let’s see what you can do to ride safe and legal on the water.

One of the first and most important steps is to learn how jet ski works, and how to ride it properly. Also, don’t overlook the pre-ride checklist, as gas vapors trapped in the engine compartment can lead to an explosion!Beyond this knowledge, you’ll definitely need some jet ski safety equipment. These accessories provide more safety and can keep you legal as well as some of them are required by the law!

We, at JetDrift, have compiled a list of the accessories that you definitely need on the water!

Jet Ski Safety Equipment Chart

In the chart below, we’ve compiled a list of the most common jet ski safety accessories you’ll need on the water. If you’d like to know more about each item, don’t hesitate to read further!

Jet Ski Safety Accessories
Registration number
ID card
Jet Ski Licence
Life jackets
Fire extinguisher
Air Horn/Whistle
Safety lanyard
Bilge pump/ Baler
Reboarding step
Knife, tools
Firts aid kits
VHF Radio,
Map, compass
GPS and Smartphone
Complete PWC Safety Kits

Essential Jet Ski Safety Equipment

It’s good to know that the United States Coast Guard (USCG) considers personal watercraft (PWC) type “A” motor vessels. This means you have to keep essential jet ski safety equipment onboard to comply with the law. Please find the complete list of these accessories below!

Also, please note that this list contains a minimum amount of safety gear required by the USCG, but your state may require additional items! Always make sure that you’ve checked applicable laws and regulations before you hit the water!

Life Jackets

Life jackets are always the most important accessory, and they’re also required by law, and with good reason. They can save your life!

When you choose your life jacket, make sure it’s USCG-approved and fits you properly. And you’ll need to not only keep it onboard, you’ll have to wear it when you ride – as well as your passengers!

Jet Ski Lanyard

Jet ski safety lanyard, known by many other names, like engine cut-off lanyard, jet ski lanyard and others, is a lanyard that you can attach to your life jacket or to your wrist. It stops the engine if you ever fall off the seat.

Jet Ski Fire Extinguisher

A B-I type, USCG-approved fire extinguisher is required to keep on board all PWCs. Don’t forget that it needs to be in serviceable condition!

Air Horn/Whistle

You have to keep a sound-producing device on board. The most common practice is to keep a whistle attached to each life jacket. But you can also consider an air horn as well!


A ventilation system is required by law. It’s good to know that PWCs are equipped with a passive ventilation system, though it is not efficient when the PWC is not in motion. The problem with this design is that flammable gas vapors can accumulate in your PWC’s hull during times when it’s not in use.

This can even lead to explosions when you start the engine! Because of this, it’s essential to remove the seat before every start, and take time to smell for gas vapors. Never miss this step!

Recommended Jet Ski Safety Equipment

Bilge Pump

Most owners overlook the importance of a jet ski bilge pump. However, it’s like a kind of physical insurance you can install on your PWC for a really low price!

If water leaks into your hull, this small unit switches on automatically to remove the water from the hull. This is extremely important on open water, and it’s a great help if you leave your jet ski on anchor or near the dock. Beyond the bilge pump, it’s also wise to keep a baler in your craft as well.


Mirrors on jet skis are not required by law – unless you want to tow someone behind your ski. In most states, you’ll need mirrors on your jet ski if you want to tow passengers for towsports! However, there are many PWC models what are equipped with factory-installed mirrors.

It’s good to note that these installed mirrors don’t meet with legal requirements in some states. The reason for this is that many states require larger, wide-angle mirrors for tow sports.

Skier Down Flag

Beyond mirrors, if you’d like to tow passengers for tow sports, a skier-down flag is required jet ski safety equipment you need to use as well. Always keep one onboard, it needs little space, and you never know when you’ll need it!

Jet Ski Reboarding Step/Ladder

Many PWCs today are equipped with reboarding steps for your convenience. You can make good use of them if you fall from the seat, or while enjoying tow sports. If there is no reboarding step on your ski, you can purchase one separately, and you can choose from different universal jet ski ladders.

Collapsible Jet Ski Paddle

Paddle on a jet ski? Yes, surprisingly, you can make good use of it when your engine stops. A stopped engine can be caused by several problems, ranging from a stuck item in your pump, or from running out of gas. Just make sure that it’s a special collapsible jet ski paddle that’s not too big and will fit in your storage compartment properly.

Jet Ski Anchor

Jet ski anchors are very important, so you should consider one to keep on board. You can make good use of them in many situations, not just in emergencies. They come in different shapes and sizes depending on your needs.


Mentioning ropes maybe seems banal, but you’ll definitely need them sooner or later. You’ll need one while launching or docking your ski. You’ll also need one if you (or one of your friends) needs to be towed back to the marina, as well as in many other situations!

Jet Ski First Aid Kits

When it comes to jet ski safety accessories, first aid kits are often overlooked. However, in case of an accident, you’llreally need one, so it never hurts to get one and keep it onboard. Whilethere are no special jet ski first aid kits, you can choose from several small-sized first aid kits designed for boaters.


It’s important to know that you aren’t allowed to ride your PWC in the dark by law – and it’s extremely dangerous as well. Therefore, it’s wise to keep a flashlight onboard. If you breakdown and get stalled after dark on the water, this item is vital.What’s more, you can flash SOS with your light!

Jet Ski Flare Kit

For the same reason as having a flashlight onboard, it makes sense to keep some flares on your jet ski. There are countless jet ski flare kits on the market to choose from. These are usually pretty small (and affordable) items, and you can make good use of them in emergency situations.

Jet Ski VHF Radio

Maybe it seems too much to keep a VHF radio onboard – until you really need one. It’s like isurance. You probably need it rarely, but then you’ll be so happy you have one when you do! There are really small handheld jet ski VHF radios on the market which you can easily store on your PWC.


We have to mention the necessary jet ski clothes as well. Depending on the season and your location, always consider keeping some warm clothes onboard, and don’t forget protection from the sun as well. Beyond the basic clothes, there are really good wet and dry suits, shoes, gloves, goggles, sunglasses and helmets to choose from!

Tools and Knife

It’s true that you won’t need them every day, but as they’re really small, it’s wise to keep a knife on your jet ski. Just make sure your knife is stored properly in a secure place! You may have to cut ropes sometimes, i.e. when your pump sucks up your top rope. Beyond the knife you can consider a small tool kit as well.

Complete Jet Ski Safety Kit

As you see, you need various gear to stay legal and safe. Collecting and purchasing these items one-by-one could be a hassle, especially if you’ve just purchased your new PWC, and you’re in need of every items. But don’t worry!

You can find several good complete jet ski safety kitson the market. These are sometimes called jet ski emergency kits or PWC emergency bags. These kits usually contain the most important jet ski safety gear you’ll need on the water. They can vary in price, size and content.

In most situations, these kits are  areally good start, but please note that these packages usually don’t include the life jackets and safety lanyards, which you’ll need in any case. So you must always make sure you purchase these additional items separately!

Registration, Safety Course, Insurance

Registration Number

Your jet ski must be registered according to your state’s regulations. Don’t forget that this number has to be displayed properly in addition to keeping your vessel’s registration onboard.

Jet Ski Safety Course (jet ski license)

The jet ski license has interchangeable names, like jet ski safety course, jet ski safety card and many others. In fact, there is no difference in safety courses between boats and jet skis, by law. This means (depending on your state and age) you probably need to take a Boating Safety Course to operate a jet ski. Check here for how and where you can get one!

ID Card

Beyond the Boating Safety Course, some states require you to have some identification on you like your state ID card or a driver’s license. Always keep all of your important documents in a dry place!


Even if it’s not required by law in most cases, it’s highly recommended you get jet ski insurance. It can cover not just your PWC, but you, your passengers, and even other property and circumstances can be covered under the insurance as well!


As you can see, there is a large list of jet ski safety equipment.

When you start to set up your own jet ski safety kit, always start with the list of the items required by the USCG.

Make sure you have the proper PWC registration, jet ski license, life jacket, safety lanyard, whistle (or air horn), and fire extinguisher, as these are the minimum requirements for everyone.

Beyond these, check your state’s applicable laws, as depending on the state, you may have to keep additional safety gear onboard. You can geta good start with a complete PWC safety kit, but don’t forget that you may have to complete this list with a few items.

Beyond these jet ski safety equipment items, don’t forget that you may need several other items on the water for more fun and convenience.

If you’re interested in jet ski safety tips, don’t miss our articles about how can you avoid accidents and injuries on the water. You can also find some really useful jet ski safety videos included in the post.

This was our list of the most important jet ski accessories. We hope you’llfind it useful!

Disclaimer: Beyond our recommendations, please always be sure to check the applicable laws and regulations in your state, as the list of the required jet ski safety accessories may vary from state to state!