How to keep safe on your jet ski

If you’re jet skiing this summer, it’s important to be safe. With this in mind, I have put together some essential tips for avoiding trouble on the water.

Know the conditions

Jet skiing in poor weather is a bad idea. And, unless you see yourself as the maritime equivalent of Evil Knievel, why would you want to? The whole point of jet skiing is to have fun, not risk your life. So, there are several ways to check the weather conditions before you head off for a day on the water.

The Metservice website provides all sorts of weather information throughout the country. However, because the service covers such a broad area, it can be hard to pinpoint the specific location that you plan to ski in. So, there are other online tools that you can use, such as and

Always wear a lifejacket

Accidents can occur in an instant. And, you don’t want to have to grapple for your lifejacket while already in the ‘drink.’ Also, unless you are on very calm water, crotch straps are recommended because lifejackets tend to ride up if there are waves. The Maritime New Zealand website provides plenty of advice for choosing a lifejacket. Check it out.


Don’t be a lone wolf. Just like if you were to head out for a daytime bushwalk, let someone know where you are going. That way they can raise the alarm should you not arrive home on time. Make sure you carry several forms of communication, too. Always have onboard a water-protected cell phone, and attach a VHF radio and emergency locator beacon to your lifejacket.

Obey the speed limit

When riding a jet ski, there is a speed limit to ensure everybody’s safety.

Do not exceed 5 knots if you are within:

  • 50 meters of a swimmer
  • 50 meters of another boat
  • 200 meters of a boat displaying a diver’s flag
  • 200 meters of a structure
  • 200 meters of the shore.

Also, you must be older than 15 to ride a jet ski that can exceed 10 knots unless you are with someone who is older and can reach the controls.

Stay off the ‘sauce’

The holiday period is a time to relax and have fun, maybe with a few ‘bevies.’ Well, wait till you’re safely back on land before you drink alcohol. There will be other people — and wildlife — sharing the water, so you must have your wits about you. That way everyone can have fun while staying safe.