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WAKE ZONE
Prep List for New Jet Ski Owners

Many of our friends purchased new jet skis for the first time this year, in part because a local drought lowered lake levels. These savvy boat owners had some difficulty dealing with the smaller personal watercraft (PWC). We noticed that it was helpful to give new jet ski owners a list of things they needed, or needed to know. This gave us the idea of putting together a list of things every new jet ski owner needs.

Sure, everybody knows that you need a U.S. Coast Guard approved personal floatation device for riding on a jet ski, preferably a nice snug-fitting neoprene vest. Some of the other things you will need are not quite as obvious, but are almost as important. Being prepared helps new jet ski owners enjoy their purchases to the fullest. So, get ready to cut up some water!

1.  Get at least two gallons of the required engine oil. It goes into a separate small reservoir.  Yamaha requires you use only their 2-cycle oil. You will also need a small funnel, as the reservoir may be hard to get to and pour the oil into.

2.  You will need some nylon rope to keep in the stowage compartment for tying up to another boat or parking at a dock. Jet ski anchors, which can be filled with sand or rocks when in use, are available through most water sports dealers and catalogs.

3.  Purchase one or two 5-gallon gas cans. It will take 5-10 gallons to fill up your jet ski gas tank.  You will want to have extra gas on hand to keep the good times going without having to find a gas pump.

4.  Floating croakies are a must for anyone who will wear glasses or sunglasses on the jet ski. Regular croakies are not enough protection from loss on a jet ski, as they allow the glasses to sink if they fall into the water. Once you get started with the jet ski, you may discover that falling off is just part of the fun. Just make sure that glasses and other valuables are either removed before you go out, or equipped with a floatation device. Keys and lanyards equipped with a float are also a good idea on a jet ski.

5.  A ziplock bag will keep the boat registration dry when you store it in the jet ski. Even compartments that are marked waterproof may leak on a jet ski. Anything that should not get wet will need to be sealed in waterproof bags or containers. I wrap up everything I put into the compartments in a thick beach towel or two. This helps to protect items from being damaged when they are bounced around in the compartment as the PWC hits wakes and waves. The towel also comes in handy if you want to stop and check out a nice beach or a dock party.

6.  Figure out where you will keep the jet ski when it is not in use. You don't want it getting scratched banging against a dock or breakwall. Some people simply anchor their watercraft in shallow water.  An old solution is to get a couple of empty bleach jugs. Fill one with sand for an anchor and tie it to another empty one. The empty one serves as a floating marker in the water. If you have a dock you can attach a jet ski lift to it. Lifts come with a manual crank or an electric one. If possible, try the lift before you buy it. Some lifts are much more difficult to maneuver the ski on or off. Drive-on floating docks are another option for a PWC. They can be attached to an existing dock or staked to a beach area.

7.  If the jet ski is your first boat, you need to make sure you have a trailer hitch installed before you buy. One time we saw a man pulling his brand new jet ski with a rental truck. He had a week wait to get a hitch on his car, and the only way he could find to get it to the water in the meantime was renting a truck! By the way, jet skis can be difficult to launch - the trailer turns and jack-knifes very quickly. The distance between the trailer hitch and the trailer axle is so short that it can turn quickly with just a slight turn of the car. Jet ski trailers are about twice as reactive as a standard boat trailer. Typically you can't see the trailer from inside your car. If you have a van, station wagon or SUV, keep your back hatch or door open while you back up so you can see the handlebars of the jet ski. Keep an eye on them so you will know when the trailer is starting to turn.

8.  Make sure you have insurance! It is imperative to be insured before you go out on the water.

We hope these hints make your first few times on the water on your new jet ski a fun experience! And, if you have not already done so, think about taking a boating safety course. Learning the rules of the road can help make everybody’s experience on the water safer and more fun!

 

 

 

 


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