NC Wildlife Officers recently warned jetski users to be careful when carrying or towing passengers.
Onboard passengers can fall or be thrown off and towed passengers can spill into the water, making them vulnerable to being run-over. In some instances, they may be struck by the very jetski on which they were previously riding or being towed.
Photo courtesy of the Personal Watercraft Industry Association
Jetskis or “personal watercraft” use an inboard engine with jet pumps turning an impeller to create a powerful thrust for propulsion and steering. The jet pumps present a hazard for entanglement. To avoid injury, turn off the engine when people are in the water.
“Personal watercraft operators must operate their vessel in manner that ensures the safety of people and property,” said Sgt. Carl Hatcher, a wildlife officer stationed in Halifax County. “They should be familiar with their vessel and how to maintain control in various circumstances. They must be aware of their surroundings and watch for people in the water and other vessels.”
When approaching within 100 feet of people, vessels or objects in the water, the operator should already be traveling at no wake or idle speed, Sgt. Hatcher said. While at idle speed and when within reach of someone or floating objects – such as tow ropes, tubes, floats or bow lines – the operator should cut off the personal watercraft to avoid entanglement.
All personal watercraft operators, riders and those being towed must wear an approved personal flotation device. Also:
- When towing, have a rearview mirror or a passenger observe the person being towed, whether they are on skis, tube, float or wakeboard.
- No one can operate a personal watercraft on state waters between sunset and sunrise.
For more information on boating safety, including personal watercraft operation and free boating education classes click here or call (919) 707-0031.