While searching around for things to do in Florida, you’ll probably come across the amazing Jet Ski rental experience and wonder if you can bring your kids. Knowing that you love Jet Skiing and take every opportunity to dust your vehicle off and get on the road to the nearest lake. Your Instagram account is loaded with evidence of your acquired skill. You crave the spray of foamy water on your face as you bask in the rays of the sun. It is your idea of the best time. But why go it alone every time? Take the kids and see what a difference a family outing can make. After one time, this pastime will be tops on everyone’s list.
There is no doubt about it. Children take to Jet Skiing like ducks to water. They love the speed and feeling of exhilaration. Who doesn’t? Don’t miss a great opportunity to bond with the little ones while you enjoy the ride of your life. But there are safety rules to follow. Take the time to be prepared in advance.
A Few Safety Precautions
Every child needs a personal flotation device that fits them properly and is in good order. Now that this priority has been addressed, where do they sit? Between two adults is ideal for maximum safety, especially for kids under 18 pounds. The first ride should be on the calm side to see how they react. Go slowly at first and stay completely in control. Then you can increase the speed and distance from shore. Don’t take them to rough water, and of course they should know how to swim.
Positioning children up front makes for more excitement as the waves will splash them, but they risk hitting the handlebars. Be wise and be safe. When you reach rough water or slow down abruptly, the chance of this is high. You make the decision and enforce basic Jet Ski rules. Remember that just being out on the water is enough.
When things don’t go as planned
Don’t panic if your child falls into the water. In fact, you should expect it and practice what to do ahead of time. Let the kid know the procedure: the adult in the back seat goes in to help get the child back on the Jet Ski. As the person swims, they keep their head above water to keep contact at all times.
The driver stops the engine immediately and remains on the vehicle. Everyone must check the nearby boat traffic before any action is taken: only a second and you are ready to react. There may also be potential dangers lurking in the water.
Now you know how to protect your child to ensure the most fun at your favorite watersport. The experience will be enhanced by your vigilance and care.
Here are some more tips, and limitations to know before hopping on a jet ski with kids.
As of the date of this article that following are the guidelines obtained from Florida Fish and Wildlife regarding jet ski age limit, safety gear, cutoff switch, age limit to drive a jet ski if you are considering to ride a jet ski with kids, boating license and more.
Life Safety Jackets
Each person operating, riding on, or being towed behind a personal watercraft (PWC), or jet ski shall wear an approved non-inflatable wearable personal flotation device (PFD). Inflatable PFDs are prohibited for personal watercraft (PWC), or jet ski use.
Engine Cut Off
The operator of a personal watercraft (PWC), or jet ski shall attach the engine cutoff switch lanyard (if equipped by the manufacturer) to his/her person, clothing or PFD.
Times to Ride
Personal watercraft (PWC), or jet ski may not be operated from 1/2 hour after sunset to 1/2 hour before sunrise, even if navigation lights are used. Remember, both federal and state law requires the use of navigation lights from sunset to sunrise.
Jet Ski Age Limit
A person shall be at least 14 years of age to drive a jet ski, or personal watercraft (PWC) in Florida.
A person shall be at least 18 years of age to rent a personal watercraft (PWC), or jet ski in Florida.
It is unlawful for a person to knowingly allow a person under 14 years of age to operate a personal watercraft (PWC), or jet ski (a second-degree misdemeanor).
Boating Education and License
Anyone born on or after January 1, 1988 is required to either have successfully completed a National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) approved boating education course or have passed a course equivalency or temporary certificate examination and have in their possession a boating education ID card and a photo identification card before operating a watercraft with a motor of 10 HP or more in Florida. Identification cards for persons completing the course or the equivalency exam are good for a lifetime. Temporary Certificate exams are made available to the public through contractors. The temporary certificate is valid for 12 months from the issue date.
Anyone born on or after January 1, 1988 who operates a watercraft powered by 10 horsepower or more shall pass an approved boater safety course and have in his/her possession photographic identification and a boating safety education identification card issued by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
The following operators are exempt:
A person licensed by the U.S. Coast Guard as a master of a watercraft.
A person operating on a private lake or pond.
An operator who is accompanied onboard by a person who is least 18 years old and possesses the required Boating Safety Education Identification Card, provided that person is attendant to and responsible for the safe operation of the watercraft.
An operator who is accompanied onboard by a person who is exempt from the educational requirements, provided that person is attendant to and responsible for the safe operation of the watercraft.
A non-resident who has in his or her possession proof that he or she has completed a NASBLA-approved boater safety course or equivalency examination from another state.
A person who is operating a watercraft within 90 days after the purchase of that watercraft, provided they have available for inspection aboard that watercraft, a bill of sale meeting all the requirements as established in Chapter 328.46(1), Florida Statutes.
A person operating a watercraft within 90 days after completing an approved boating safety course, as required in Chapter 327.395(1), and has a photographic I.D. and a boater education course completion certificate showing proof of having completed the required boating safety education course. The course completion certificate shall provide the student’s first and last name, date of birth, and the date the course was successfully completed. (Effective Oct. 1, 2011.)
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