Chapter 4 X Personal Watercraft
Spark plug cables are secure. Throttle grips are not loose. Hose connections are tight and not cracked or leaking. Bilge is drained.
Drain plugs are in place and secure. Jet pump is not fouled or clogged. Throttle springs back after being pressed. Steering mechanism moves easily.
Casting Off Check that the ECOS lanyard is attached to your left wrist or life jacket. Check that the fuel cock is in the “on” position. Check the steering and throttle as you ease the personal watercraft away from the dock. Check your surroundings. Watch for swimmers and other boats. Leave the dock or beach area slowly. While Under Way Check the water depth. Never operate a PWC in shallow water, because the watercraft may suck materials up from the bottom, into the drive intake area damaging the pump and creating a hazard. Manufacturers recommend operating in at least 18 to 24 inches of water that is free of debris and weeds. Check for other boats, swimmers, and water skiers. Be careful when turn ing—look to both sides and aft. Check the speed laws, traffic, navigation markers and signs. Check your noise. Be polite, and limit noise by not boating in one place for too long. Check the current or water flow. Avoid strong currents, because they can be dangerous to riders trying to reach and climb aboard their watercraft. Check the waterway. Avoid rocky areas and jetties (barriers built to protect harbors) because of unexpected currents and a possible collision. Check the fuel—conserve to make sure you can get back to shore. Remember the one-third rule—one-third of a tank out, one-third back in, and one-third for safety. If you have to switch to the reserve tank, head for the shore immediately. Check the time. Return before dark or before you are too tired.
Keep hands, feet, and hair away from the pump intake and the jet pump nozzle while the PWC motor is running.
California Course for Safe Boating
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