Safety Equipment Personal Safety

Similar to powerboat operators, personal watercraft operators must have the following safety equipment:

^ A U.S. Coast Guard-approved fire extinguisher, good for gasoline and oil fires.

^ Sound signaling device—a whistle attached to your PFD, or a stored signal horn.

^ A backfire flame arrestor that is clean and well secured.

^ Ventilation of the engine compartment—in order to clear the compartment of fumes, you should ventilate by opening storage spaces and seat for at least four minutes before starting the engine, and after refueling.

^ Visual distress signals if your boat is 16 feet or longer (for coastal waters only).

Every person on board a personal watercraft (PWC) and any person towed behind a vessel must wear a Coast Guard-approved Type I, II, III, or V life jacket. Exceptions: a person aboard a personal watercraft or being towed behind a vessel, if that person is a performer in a professional exhibition, or preparing to participate in an official regatta, marine parade, tournament or exhibition. Instead of wearing a Type I, II, III, or V Coast Guard-approved personal flotation device, any person engaged in slalom skiing on a marked course, or any person engaged in barefoot, jump, or trick water skiing may choose to wear a wetsuit designed for the activity and labeled by the manufacturer as a water ski wetsuit. A Coast Guard-approved Type I, II, III, or V life jacket must be carried in the tow vessel for each skier choosing to wear a wetsuit.


• Beware of natural things that can cause stress, such as wind, sun, noise, and motion.

• Do not drink alcohol and operate a personal watercraft.

• It is against the law for anyone under the age of 21 to drink alcohol.

• If you are convicted of drinking and operating a personal watercraft, you can lose the privilege of getting or keeping your d river s license

For personal safety, a personal watercraft operator should also wear:

^ A whistle attached to your life ^

jacket, one that works even when wet.

^ Eye protection, to guard you from the sun, spray, and bugs. You should have a leash ^

on your sunglasses so you won't lose them if you enter the water.

^ Boat shoes/booties, to improve traction and protect your feet from underwater hazards. ^

^ Gloves to improve your grip and make you more comfortable.

See Chapter 1 for more details on Personal Safety and Chapter 2 for details on Boating Law.

A wet suit, to protect you against sun, wind, scrapes and bruises, and hypothermia. Manufacturers recommend wearing wet suits to prevent injury.

A helmet, to protect your head from injury. The type of helmet varies with the type of water activity. A properly fitted helmet is mandatory for racers.


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