PWC Driving: The Ultimate Safety Guide

Countless individuals love to spend their free time out on the water. A great way to do so is with the help of personal watercraft. These devices are smaller than boats but still offer hours of enjoyment. The goal is to have fun safely when operating the PWC. What are some ways to minimize risks when having fun with family and friends? 

Avoid Towed Vessels

Towed vessels are hazardous to people operating personal watercraft purchased at ads motorsports. Be aware of your surroundings and give skiers being towed by a boat plenty of room. Try to stay as far from them as possible. T

he same holds for boats being towed back to shore. When passing by these vessels, slow the PWC. Slowing down will minimize your wake, as the wake could disturb the towed vessel. All parties need to watch out for each other when out on the water. 

Allow Non-Motorized Vessels to Go First

Non-motorized vessels, such as kayaks, canoes, sailboats, and stand-up paddleboards, are given the right of way on open waters. Give these vessels plenty of room and watch out for others. Remaining vigilant helps prevent accidents. 

Don’t Go Near Public Beaches or Swimming Areas

Never bring your PWC near a public beach or swimming area. While it may be fun to go check out what is on the beach or go for a swim, doing so can be dangerous. Personal watercraft should never be near a beach, so look for floating ropes or buoys to determine which areas are off-limits. It’s hard to see a swimmer bobbing in the water until you are right by them. Nobody wants an accident because the PWC operator didn’t see someone in the water. Swimmers may also venture outside established boundaries, so be on the lookout for these individuals. 

Maintain a Safe Distance

Groups may choose to go out on their personal watercraft. Every person in the group must remain alert and attentive when powering a PWC. Keep a safe distance between the vessels and never engage in horseplay. Too many things could go wrong.

Never follow directly behind another person on a PWC. If they suddenly stop, you may accidentally harm them. You may be tempted to swerve to avoid doing so, but that might also cause a collision. Try to stay behind and off to one side. If any problems arise, let other riders know. Use hand signals to communicate with one another. 

Falling Off a Personal Watercraft 

Accidents happen. Riders may be horsing around and cause an accident or want to have fun jumping boat wakes. Nothing is wrong with this, but every person needs room to operate their watercraft safely. If you find yourself falling off the vessel, let go. Try to fall clear of the vessel. Never hang on. Many do so only lead to bruises or other health issues. Allow the PWC to resurface and climb back on. Always have the operator get on the PWC first. 

Be Aware of Blind Spots

Operating a personal watercraft is similar in some ways to driving a car. There are blind spots the driver or operator must know of. Take the time to look in all directions to make sure nobody is coming. Turn in the desired direction.

When another watercraft is seen, allow them to pass before resuming with your itinerary. Always wait for a vessel to pass before continuing with the day. It falls on each operator to steer defensively. When another vessel is headed straight for you, take evasive action. Deliberately turn away from the upcoming vessel. While the PWC may have the right-of-way, others out on the water may not know this, and their lack of knowledge could lead to an accident. 

Wear Bright Colors

A rider may choose any color not found in nature to wear when out on the water. Other boaters will be able to see the watercraft and operator. Bright green, yellow, pink, and orange are good options. Avoid dark colors such as black and blue. They blend in with other colors found in nature, so a person could be overlooked. White clothes and caps can throw a person off, so many experts recommend wearing neon. Bright, bold colors can lift a person’s mood while ensuring others see them. These same neon colors benefit boaters when they must spend the night. 

Navigation Lights

Every PWC should have lights. However, the stock lights on these watercraft may not provide enough illumination. Consider upgrading the vessel with navigation lights. They will be greatly appreciated if the weather turns bad and visibility is limited or when the sun goes down and you have not returned to shore. Always remain within the visible range of the lights rather than overrunning them. Use a GPS with the light and return to the launch ramp. 

Take Shelter During Inclement Weather

Don’t remain on the PWC if the weather gets rough. A beautiful day can quickly become a nightmare if a storm blows in while you are on the PWC. The weather may change in numerous ways. For example, winds may pick up, making being out on a PWC dangerous. Download a weather app on your mobile device and monitor the weather several times throughout the day to ensure nothing is overlooked. 

When a storm rolls in, find somewhere to take shelter immediately. Avoid any area with antennas or wide-open spaces. Do not remain on the PWC. Tie it off and seek shelter. Look for a building far away from the water and take shelter indoors or under an overhang. Remain sheltered until the storm passes entirely. Once it does, check the PWC to see any visible damage and whether the machine remains operational. 

Use these safety tips for a great ride on the PWC. A safe attitude also goes a long way to keep the operator and any riders safe so they can enjoy the PWC on another day. Continue learning to operate these vessels to ensure you and all riders know what to do if disaster strikes. 


Welcome to the Night Helper Blog. The Night Helper Blog was created in 2008. Since then we have been blessed to partner with many well-known Brands like Best Buy, Fisher Price, Toys "R" US., Hasbro, Disney, Teleflora, ClearCorrect, Radio Shack, VTech, KIA Motor, MAZDA and many other great brands. We have three awesome children, plus four adorable very active grandkids. From time to time they too are contributors to the Night Helper Blog. We enjoy reading, listening to music, entertaining, travel, movies, and of course blogging.

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