Can You Ride a Jet Ski Without Swimming Skills?
Are you interested in jet skiing, but can’t swim? Want to know if it’s safe or legal to ride a jet ski without swimming skills?
These questions are asked by many beginner jet ski riders, and with good reason!
Deep water can be dangerous, just like jet skis, and the lack of jet ski riding and swimming skills on the water means higher accident risk for you. You have to be very careful, as hazardous situations can lead to accidents on the water, which can end in injuries and even death.
But don’t worry! You can reduce your risk by keeping in mind the most important rules and regulations. For your convenience, within this post, we’ve created a guide about applicable laws as well as the most important safety tips.
Now, without further ado, let’s see if you can ride a jet ski without swimming skills!
Can you Ride a Jet Ski if you Can’t Swim?
Although it may be surprising, it’s completely legal to ride a jet ski without having any swimming skills.
It’s not uncommon that many jet ski rental centers offer jet skis for customers who can’t swim at all. Their staff usually educates the customers about the basics of jet ski operation, as well as safety.
If you’re a total beginner, renting a jet ski could be a great start for you. Many rental centers have a specified area (called a “riding zone”) where you can ride your jet ski under the supervision of professional staff. They are on duty for your safety!
The other way to have safer rides is to take part in guided jet ski tours. On these tours, an experienced guide will lead you during the whole trip, and can also help you if you fall into the water! You can choose from several different tours, like sight-seeing tours, and even jet ski dolphin watch tours.
If you’ve never ridden jet skis before, these guided jet ski rides could possibly be the best choices for you!
Swimming with a Life Jacket
However, keep in mind that jet skis are really flexible, so this means you can fall off your seat. If you’re on the open water, you never know when you’ll be hit by a bigger wave. If you lose your balance, you may fall into the water.
The ocean is not a swimming pool, so you have to be prepared! Because of this, it’s highly recommended you learn the rules of jet ski riding without swimming skills.
The first and most important rule is to keep your life jacket on you at all times. This is not just required by law, but it’s really important for your safety as well. If you fall into the water, this device will keep you afloat.
If you haven’t worn a life jacket before, it’s recommended you give it a try in the water before your first jet ski ride. Put your life jacket on and make sure it’s size is right for you. If it’s fine, get some practice with it!
Go into the water only up to your chest and make sure your head is still above the water. Lift your legs carefully and try to float to experience what it feels like.
Don’t worry; swimming with a life jacket is easy! You can use your legs, arms or both to maneuver in the water. Kick your legs up and down some more and move at a steady pace. You’ll be surprised that you can move in the water only by using your legs. But don’t forget to use your arms as well if you need a little boost!
If you’re getting tired don’t panic; just simply float in the water.
How to Ride a Jet Ski Without Swimming Skills
If you can’t swim but still want to ride a jet ski, don’t forget to keep in mind these safety rules:
Always wear the life jacket: As we’ve mentioned, wearing a U.S. Coast Guard – approved life jacket is not only required by law; it can also save your life! If you can’t swim, the life jacket is extremely important for you. You may also want some clothes which can protect you to a greater degree.
Don’t forget the whistle: Just like life jackets, a sound-producing device is also required by law. The best practice is if you keep a whistle attached to your life jacket.
Other safety equipment: Also make sure that you’ve attached the safety lanyard to the jacket. It will stop the engine if you fall into the water. Beyond this, check the whole list of the safety accessories, and keep all of the necessary and required gear onboard.
Never ride alone: Riding with others always offers more safety on the water. If you lack swimming skills, the best you can do is to never ride a jet ski alone. It’s wise if you have company who can swim properly; they can help you in emergency situations!
Ride only in calm weather: If you can’t swim, it’s highly recommended you ride only in calm weather. Choppy water and wind all increase the chances of capsizing your jet ski or falling off the seat.
Avoid recklessness: Without experience, you have a higher risk of accidents and injuries. Keeping safety in mind, always operate the ski carefully, and also avoid riding at high speeds and doing tricks.
Get a jet ski license: Even if your state doesn’t require it, it’s wise to get a jet ski license before your first ride.
Consider a guided tour: If you are a total beginner jet ski rider, it’s best if you can start with a guided jet ski tour, or ride a jet ski rental in a “riding zone”.
What to Do if You Fall Off the Jet Ski
Compared to boats, jet skis are really flexible and you sit much closer to the water.
This means even if you ride carefully, there is always a chance to fall off the seat. Once you fall into the water, the most important rule is to stay calm and don’t worry. Jet ski life jackets are designed to keep your head above the water’s surface.
Try to get back to the jet ski slowly. If it’s capsized, you have to turn it upwards.
Warning: You can find a sticker on the rear side of the jet ski with the instructions for how to do it right!
After this, simply use the reboarding step to get back onto the jet ski. If you’d like to learn more about the process, please watch this tutorial video below, or you can read our step-by-step guide about how to reboard a jet ski.
Swimming Skills Give More Confidence on a Jet Ski
Even if you can ride a jet ski without swimming skills, it never hurts to know how to swim properly. The whole purpose of jet skiing is spending the whole day out on the water.
With better swimming skills, you’ll be much more confident on the jet ski as you don’t have to be afraid of falling all the time (or at least not as much!).
Beyond the better riding experience, safety is always the most important rule on the water, so it’s highly recommended you learn at least the basics of swimming.
If you’re only considering renting a jet ski once or twice a year, you’ll probably be fine without any swimming skills. But if you want to buy your own jet ski and ride more frequently, it’s definitely worth learning to swim sooner or later!
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