• Steven E. Overmyer

The Beginner’s Guide to a Smooth PWC Ride

No summer is complete without a sunny day out on the water, and as a PWC owner, you’ll find yourself making every excuse to hit the beach or lake. If you’re still a rookie when it comes to handling a jet-ski, however, you may feel like you don’t look quite as cool as you thought you would, and you wake up the next day way more sore than you should be. Before you take your PWC out for that last ride of the summer, take a look at some of these tips to make the experience a whole lot smoother.

Stay relaxed

The key to an easy-going PWC ride is to simply stay relaxed when you’re driving. Keep your hands loose, but firm, on the handlebar, and lean forward comfortably with your back slightly bent. Your feet should be placed forward on the footrest, unless you’re standing - which isn’t recommended until you really get the hang of the PWC. Keeping the tension out of your body is the best way to ensure that your shoulders won’t feel so sore in the morning. If you hit a wave and get some air, lift yourself off of the seat a few inches; this will make the landing much less throttling.

Eyes on the horizon

It may seem commonsensical that keeping an eye on the handlebars or the water ahead will help you steer straight; however, this isn’t the case. Try staring off into the horizon instead. Looking into the distance helps significantly when you’re having a hard time staying straight; just be sure to look out for any obstacles, like buoys, boats, or other PWCs.

Finger on the throttle

If you find yourself in a dangerous situation and you feel like a collision is inevitable, it may seem natural to release the throttle; this could not be further from the truth, though. Accelerating allows the jets to continue propelling the PWC, making it possible to steer. When you take your finger off of the throttle, you’ll find yourself unable to turn away from the obstacles ahead. It may seem unnatural at first, but you should get used to it the more you ride your jet-ski.

Re-board from behind

Whether or not being thrown from a jet-ski is your idea of fun, it’s bound to happen; it’s just a part of the experience. Re-boarding is the tricky part, however, and if not done properly you’ll find yourself fumbling around on the side of the PWC, feeling (and probably looking) like a dork. The trick to gracefully re-boarding is to climb back on from the stern, or the back end. There’s a handle conveniently placed behind the seat, allowing you to pull yourself up with ease.

Prepare for passengers

One important tip to know is that, when riding with passengers, the jet-ski is weighed down more, making it difficult to turn. All passengers should lean in the direction of the turn. If you get thrown from the jet-ski, be sure to re-board one at a time. If you are the passenger, know that you should stay seated at all times, and keep your arms loose (but firm) around the person ahead of you. You could also hold on to the back of their life jacket. Either way, the driver should feel comfortable enough to operate the craft with ease.

Ease into docking

When the ride is over, you may find that the really tricky part is docking gracefully. To burn off extra momentum, slow down to idling and make a hard, full turn about twenty feet or more from the dock. Then approach the dock or shore slowly and shut the jet-ski off as you get close. When the craft is shut off, you won’t be able to steer, so be sure that you’re heading straight for where you’re docking. If you’re going to shore, exit the craft in a spot that’s shallow enough to stand in and guide it to land. If you’re docking, approach slowly and grab ahold of the dock before you make contact.

You can look like a pro on your PWC without actually being a pro - just be sure to know the basics first. Visit our Gainesville dealership location to see our wide inventory of new and used PWCs. Outdoor Powersports serves the greater Dallas metro area.

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