Riding a jet ski on the water can be a fun and exciting experience, and you may be ready to share that experience with your kids. However, as a parent, you are likely wondering, “How can I ensure it will be safe?” Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about jet skiing with children.
How Old Should a Child Be To Ride a Jet Ski?
One question you may ask is, “Is my child old enough to ride a jet ski?” Most states don’t have an age limit for a child to ride as a passenger. But when it comes to them driving personal watercraft (PWCs) by themselves, the rules tend to vary.
For example, the state of Illinois requires those between the ages of 10 and under 12 to drive the PWC under the supervision of their parent or guardian. However, in Florida, you can’t be under the age of 14 and operate one, even if you have a boating safety education I.D. card.
How Big Should They Be To Ride One?
The size of a child can also play a part in whether they should ride a jet ski. For example, the United States Coast Guard advises that your little one should weigh at least 18 pounds in order to ride a PWC.
However, you should check the manual of your jet ski for the manufacturer’s recommendations as well. It may suggest a minimum height that a person needs to be to be able to ride. They may also suggest that your child can ride only if they can place their feet on the bottom of the PWC’s footwells.
Where Should My Child Sit on the Jet Ski?
Another thing you need to know about jet skiing with children is where they should sit in the vehicle. If you think it’s a good idea to place them upfront so that they can get the best view, think again. If you do so, you’re putting them in danger of bumping their head on the jet ski’s handlebars.
They may even get in the way of your view, preventing you from driving the jet ski safely. Instead, your child should sit right behind you on the jet ski. If you take them on a jet ski with three seats, have another adult behind them. This strategy will allow the person behind you to keep an eye on your kid while you can stay focused on driving.
What Should They Wear on the Jet Ski?
How your child dresses while on your PWC is equally important. They must wear a life jacket to prevent them from drowning if they fall into the water. It’s important for everyone to wear a life jacket, though, not just children.
When choosing your child’s life jacket, be sure to pick the right size. Don’t buy one that is too tight and prevents them from moving, as that can hinder them if they fall into the water. If they are especially young, pick one with a pillow in the back that will keep their heads upright. This can help in dangerous situations.
What Should I Do if They Fall off the Jet Ski?
As a parent, you probably don’t like to think about what might happen if your child was in a dangerous situation. But before you take them on a jet ski, you need to have a plan ready in case they fall into the water.
For example, having another adult with you on the jet ski can be helpful in this situation. If your kid falls in the water, the second adult can inform you so that you can bring the jet ski to a stop. After you check to see that no boats or other watercraft are coming along, that person can go in the water.
During this time, you should stay on the PWC and help your child and the other adult climb back on when they return. You should inform your child of the plan beforehand so that they know what to do if they fall off. It will even allow the rescue to go easier.
What Is the Best Weather for Riding With My Child?
It’s also a good idea to find out what the weather is like before you go out on the water with your kid. Going for a trip on a jet ski during harsh weather can be challenging and dangerous, so make sure it looks like it will be a pleasant day.
Ideally, it should be warm outside with plenty of sunshine, zero clouds, and no signs of any wind. The water should be tranquil, as this will lower the chances of any danger and ensure that you and your child have a fun time on your PWC.
How Fast Should I Go on My Jet Ski?
You may like to go fast when you’re alone on your jet ski, but you must be more cautious with your child on board. Keep it at a slow pace and ignore the urge to do any tricks to impress the little one.
If you try to show off, you may end up scaring them and putting them in danger rather than pleasing them. When they get older, you can consider going at a higher speed.
How Else Can I Prepare?
You can even prepare yourself and your child for an experience on a jet ski by taking a safe boating course with them. Together, you will learn about important practices that will keep you both safe on the water. You can feel better assured that you and your kid know how to stay safe on the water.
With this knowledge, you will be much better prepared to have a fun experience with your child on a jet ski. If you need Sea-Doo clothing for your next adventure on the water, contact Peakboys. We offer plenty of products that will keep you and your little one safe and comfortable so that you can get more enjoyment out of your ride.