Personal Watercraft(PWC) Safety

Safety Tips

Please read the Handbook of Idaho Boating Laws and Responsibilities and watch the Idaho Boater Safety Video for a complete overview of the safety operations when operating a Jet Ski on Idaho Lakes

  1. When operating the PWC, SCAN Constantly with your eyes and head to look for people, objects and other boats.
  2. Keep the PWC engine off when swimmers are near or around the PWC.
  3. Always operate DEFENSIVELY at safe speeds and keep a safe distance away from people, objects and other watercraft.
  4. Keep a safe distance from other boats!
  5. Do Not follow directly behind other jet skis or boats.
  6. Do Not jump the wakes of other vessels.
  7. Do Not weave your PWC through congested traffic.
  8. Do Not go near others to spray or splash them with water.
  9. Do Not release the throttle lever when trying to steer away from objects - REMEMBER you need throttle control to steer the PWC
  10. Do Not operate in a way that requires you or another vessel to swerve at the last possible moment to avoid a collision.
  11. Avoid sharp turns or maneuvers that make it hard for you to control the jet ski.
  12. Always ride within your limits.

Steering & Stopping

A PWC moves across the water by drawing water into a pump and forcing the water out under pressure through a steering nozzle at the back of the unit. This "jet" of pressurized water is where a PWC get its other name...Jet Ski. Jet Skis can only be steered when water is being forced out the steering nozzle! This is one of the most important tips for proper control of a PWC.

  1. A PWC CANNOT be steered at speed without power or throttle use. You must apply the throttle, to force water out the steering nozzle, in order to steer the PWC.
  2. A PWC DOES NOT have a NEUTRAL. When the Jet Ski is on it will idle at very low RPMs. The PWC will move forward as a result of the low idle and no neutral. THIS IS IMPORTANT. A PWC will move forward as soon as the engine is turned on.
  3. To turn you will need to apply power to the throttle.
  4. Increased throttle control will allow the Jet Ski to turn at a sharper angle.
  5. Decreased throttle control will cause the PWC to turn at a slower angle.


The PWCs are equipped with a REVERSE SYSTEM. This reverse system can help jet ski operators control the PWC during use.

  1. Only operate the reverse system while moving at idle speeds of 3MPH or less.
  2. Remember, Jet Skis DO NOT have a neutral. When they are turned on they will move forward as a result of the low engine rpms. The REVERSE SYSTEM can help the PWC operator control the forward movement of the PWC Rental.
  3. The Reverse Lever is located on the right hand side of the Personal Watercraft. Pulling the lever up engages the Reverse system. A gate lowers over the jet ski nozzle and pressurized water is deflected against the gate. The water pressure is directed to the front of the Jet Ski Rental rather than the rear. The forward pressure of water pushes the Jet Ski in reverse at low rpms. Pushing the Reverse lever down will disengage the reverse gate and the PWC will move forward again as a result of the low rpm engine.
  4. DO NOT ENGAGE the throttle for high speeds when the REVERSE SYSTEM is engaged. Increased throttle control could permanently damage the jet ski nozzle and reverse gate.
  5. DO NOT USE the REVERSE SYSTEM to STOP or SLOW down the personal watercraft when the Jet Ski is moving at high speeds. You could permanently damage the watercraft, cause you to lose control, be ejected from the PWC or impacted on the handlebars. Death or serious injury could arise from the misuse of the REVERSE SYSTEM.

Safety Video