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What is a Safety Lanyard on a Jet Ski? [Explained]

What is a Safety Lanyard on a Jet Ski? [Explained]

The safety lanyard is one of the most important pieces of safety equipment on a jet ski. This flexible key rope features a quick-release fitting (clip) on the end, which you must attach to the engine shut-off switch while attaching the other end to your life jacket or wrist. If you accidentally fall off the saddle the lanyard will cut off engine power, causing the jet ski to stop.

If you want to find out more about this safety feature, this post is for you.

We at JetDrift have compiled all you need to know under one roof.

What is the Purpose of a Safety Lanyard on a Jet Ski?

There’s no question that one of the major drawbacks of jet skis is their direct-drive system.

Since their impeller is attached to the engine with a direct driveshaft, it starts immediately propelling the jet ski as soon as the engine starts.

Because of this, early models were equipped with a special steering system to prevent the jet ski from moving away from the rider after a fall. If the rider fell off the saddle, these machines started steering to the right to return.

Although it was a revolutionary idea, in most cases this is not really what happened. Instead of making a perfect full circle, these jet skis were often hijacked by the waves, wind, or currents.

Therefore, riders often had to swim while trying to “catch” their circling jet ski. As you can imagine, it was neither safe nor convenient.

To make jet skiing safer, manufacturers replaced this design with a more advanced engine shut-off switch. This little feature sits on the handlebar and utilizes a special plastic clip.

Attaching this clip to the switch allows you to start the engine but when it’s removed, engine power immediately cuts off.

But how can the rider quickly remove this clip while falling into the water?

This is where the safety lanyard (a.k.a. safety tether cord or engine cut-off lanyard) comes into play.

The main and only purpose of the safety lanyard is to attach the clip to the rider. This lanyard is a flexible and extendable key rope that must be attached to the rider’s wrist or life jacket. A plastic clip is mounted to the other end of the lanyard, which has to be attached engine shut-off switch. If the rider falls off the saddle, the lanyard will remove the clip from the switch, which then cuts engine power.

This way, the jet ski will stop close to the rider who can reboard it quickly and effortlessly.It’s also good to know that Sea-Doos have a unique safety lanyard that incorporates a special D.E.S.S. key. This key is programmed to the Sea-Doo’s main computer (ECU) to prevent unauthorized use.

These Sea-Doo lanyards feature a special claw-style clip that attaches to a rounded D.E.S.S. post on the handlebar.

In contrast, other brands of PWCs like Kawasaki jet skis and Yamaha WaveRunners come with an industry-standard plastic shut-off clip. These models are also equipped with anti-theft systems, typically a remote key.

Takeaway – FAQs About the PWC Safety Lanyards

We’ve answered the most common questions about this safety feature as a takeaway!

What is a Safety Lanyard on a Jet Ski?

The safety lanyard is a flexible elastic key rope designed to shut off the engine if the rider falls off into the water. The main idea behind this feature is to prevent the jet ski from moving away from the rider before they can climb back on.

Where is the Safety Lanyard on a Jet Ski?

The safety lanyard is not part of the jet ski but a piece of safety equipment that must be attached to the engine cut-off switch.

Do You Need a Safety Lanyard on a Jet Ski by Law?

By law, the safety lanyard is a mandatory piece of safety equipment on jet skis.

Where do You Attach the Safety Lanyard on a Jet Ski?

As a rule of thumb, the safety clip has to be attached to the engine cut-off switch, while its other end has to be secured to the operator’s life jacket or wrist.