Enjoying a day out on your PWC

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Personal watercraft (PWC, jetski, wave runners) are fast, powerful and challenging to ride and they are a popular choice for on-the-water activities. That is why its important to know how to drive them safely,competently and with courtesy to other boaties.

Know the rules

Follow State regulations and restrictions. Learn the collision regulations. Know how to signal and pass other vessels, which vessel has the right of way, and how to read aids to navigation. (Signs you’ll see on the water)

Get to know your PWC

If you are using a carbureted 2-stroke PWC, the key is to keep your PWC well-maintained for minimal smoke emission (there is probably not much you can do about noise). Manufacturers have been addressing both smoke and noise pollution with the new breed of low-decibel 4-strokes. See the latest line up offered by Seadoo.

Safety equipment

Life jackets must be worn by each person riding the PWC. The driver must wear the Safety Lanyard. Often referred to as the “kill chord” This chord operates the kill switch which will deactivate the motor if you fall off. Its also a good idea to carry a towing pack.

Know your abilities

Develop operation skills that promote safety and courtesy. Learn to use the throttle and steering properly (many beginners let go of the throttle when they are heading at another boat or obstacle, thus losing steerage), practice high-speed stopping and steering manoeuvers. Practice boarding and re-boarding your PWC. If you are a learner rider, use the manufacturers programmable “Learner Key” which allows you to limit the performance of the PWC based on rider skill-level. Scan the horizon constantly for other vessels and passive craft (kayaks, canoes, dinghies and small yachts). Get to know other experienced and enthusiastic riders through clubs and organisations such as the The Jetski Club and the Australian Jet Sports Boating Association.

Use common-sense, like slowing down or avoiding anchored boats, not waking or splashing other boaters, and not doing hour-long doughnuts in front of other boats or waterfront homes. Allow room for stopping. A PWC will not stop immediately just because you release the throttle or shut down the engine.

Situation awareness

Avoid dangerous activities such as jumping wakes left behind other vessels. The angle and height can be easily misjudged and cause you to fall off. The key is to be aware of the associated risks and of others while out on the water. Always look behind over both shoulders before making a turn. Remember, accidents can happen very fast!

Know your PWC operating area

Be aware of PWC restriction areas and environmental concerns. Stay clear of nesting grounds and fragile ecosystems. Keep a good lookout, watch for swimmers. Areas around bays, beaches and marinas can fill up quickly with people who might want to swim, so before you decide to gun it, scan the area for potential problems.

Have effective communication tools on hand

Take the precaution of putting your mobile into a water-proof pouch and carry it with you.


OPERATING RULES YOU SHOULD KNOW IN NEW SOUTH WALES

  • Carry your PWC licence with you at all times.
  • Operating a PWC in exclusion zones is not permitted.
  • Irregular driving ( other than a straight line) is prohibited in exclusion zones or within 200 metres of the shore near residences.
  • Obey speed restrictions.
  • Know and obey the collision regulations.
  • Wear a PFD – Level 100+ (Type 1) offshore, Level 50 (Type 2) or Level 50s (Type 3) on enclosed waters.
  • Remember distance off rules. Many PWC accidents occur due to riders not allowing enough space between each other.
  • When operating at 10 knots or more stay:
    60 metres from people, small non-power driven craft, surf or swimming zones.
    30 metres from other vessels, objects, structures or shore.
  • Avoid offensive behaviour and keep away from residences or areas where noise may annoy.Riding a PWC between sunset and sunrise is prohibited.
  • Don’t drink and drive a PWC.
  • A PWC is considered to be a power-driven vessel in law, and the relevant rules apply to its use.