Why is it important to consider safety tips when riding in large PWC groups?
With an increase in personal watercraft sales, more owners are taking jet ski day rides and multi-day Sea Doo tours. While we typically see small groups of up to six jet skis on outings, there's a noticeable rise in larger groups, with 20 or more Sea Doos, coming together for PWC adventures.
Large PWC Group Riding Tips
If the ride is open to all participants, assist in screening riders by ensuring the open invitation specifies the nature of the jet ski ride (e.g., couples, family, sightseeing, long distance, solo riders only, etc.). Take advantage of this opportunity to have online waivers signed and provide information on PWC ride details and requirements. Another strategy to reduce uncertainties in large PWC group rides is to schedule them on weekdays instead of weekends. This approach limits participation, making it more likely that the riders who join are experienced enthusiasts.
Docs, Fees & Gear
Before departure, check that every Sea-Doo operator possesses any necessary documents to legally operate and comply with boating regulations. If there are any locks or transit points with fees, confirm that all riders have prepaid to prevent delays in payment at the site. Mandate that all participants carry the recommended emergency equipment on board, including a reliable towrope.
To safeguard organisers and fellow jet ski riders, require all participants, both operators and passengers, in large PWC group rides to sign liability waivers before taking part—without any exceptions.
Schedule the launching time at least an hour ahead of departure, and adhere to the set departure time without waiting for latecomers. Before setting off, provide a route plan detailing the towns to be visited, the locations of locks, and planned stops for gas and food. This will aid individuals who may become separated in reconnecting with the group along the route. Include contact numbers for communication with other riders if necessary. Conduct a headcount for the jet skis, ensuring that everyone is aware of the initial count in your PWC group. Conduct additional counts at stops during the journey. Implement the buddy system to ensure each rider has someone keeping a watchful eye on them throughout the Sea Doo ride..
Bringing snacks to eat on the water enables a large PWC group to pause for a quick lunch at any location, eliminating the challenges of fitting everyone into a waterfront restaurant and the associated delays. Always remember to carry your trash back with you.
Minimise the need for fuel stops by ensuring that all participants have a full tank before launching and adopt fuel-efficient riding practices. For jet skis with limited fuel range, carry additional gas to prevent excessive stops at marinas. Pre-select marinas for refuelling that can adequately accommodate your group, and ensure they have accessible public washrooms.
Most importantly, resist succumbing to peer pressure during any ride. When competitiveness arises, certain jet ski riders may engage in risky behaviour or attempts to show off, leading to potential dangers. In my observation, the higher the number of jet ski riders, the greater the likelihood of peer pressure influencing the situation negatively.
Looking to organise or attend a PWC riding group?
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