A Guide to Jet Skiing in the UK

Jet ski Information

Quick to learn and easy to use, getting to grips with jet skiing can be thrilling and as with any exhilarating sport, they need to be handled with care, so whatever your level, jet ski insurance is recommended. This shouldn’t put you off though as, used sensibly, jet skis are a lot of fun.

If you're a newcomer to the excitement of jet skiing, it's important to ensure that you have been shown the basics before getting on a craft. In the UK, there are a number of water sports centres which have jet skis for hire and which offer tuition and unless you are taking your own craft. Though you will not need jet ski insurance for this, it is always worth checking that the water sport centre's own jet ski insurance will cover you.

The RYA is the UK's national body for all forms of boating and water sport, and their personal watercraft (jet ski) proficiency course, which takes only a day to complete, is recognised globally. Offering you a safe way to get started, you'll also find that you will need the certificate to launch in many harbours in this country, and is a requirement if you wish to use your jet ski abroad. Your Jet Ski insurance should generally cover you for a limited period when using it overseas.

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What to look for when buying a jet ski

From a safety point of view, it is always best to match the Jet Ski to your own capabilities. While on the subject of safety it is worth noting that while all modern jet skis have lanyards fitted as standard, some second hand ones may not. A lanyard will ensure that the power to the engine is cut should you fall off while using your jet ski, and so it is highly recommended to ensure that the jet ski you are buying, or indeed hiring, has one fitted.

There are many types of jet ski on the market - from stand-up, solo craft, sport craft, two seaters, to those with three or four seats. You will need to take into consideration your own proficiency and how stable you need the jet ski to be, what you wish to do with the jet ski, from racing, freestyle tricks, family use or even towing, as well as the specification and engine size.

You will also need to consider where you will be storing your jet ski, how you will transport it and you will need to look into a suitable Jet ski insurance package.

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Racing your jet ski

To get started with jet ski racing you will first need to apply for membership of the Jet Sport Racing Association of Great Britain (JSRA). If you're already proficient in jet skiing and you want to take it to a whole new level, learning to race your personal watercraft may be the next step. And with all manner of classes available to race in, it's not just the mega competitive jet skier with the all singing all dancing specification who can have fun here. Many people simply find they enjoy the day out with family and friends in a more controlled environment than simply jet skiing on the open water.

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Do you need a licence to jet ski in the UK?

If you want to get started with jet ski racing, the Jet Sport Racing Association of Great Britain (JSRA) can help explain what you need. You will also need to let your jet ski insurance company know that you will be racing and your policy will need to be extended to cover this.

To race, you will also need to have mandatory safety gear, including a wetsuit or drysuit, a back protector, an approved life vest, an approved motocross type safety helmet, footwear and approved upper and lower leg guards.

Before hitting the water you'll also need to decide which category and class to apply for. There are three categories - Ski (stand up), runabout (sit down) and sport (single seater), and within these are beginner, novice and expert classes. A new rider without race experience will automatically be assigned to the Beginner class.

you've chosen an event to enter, make sure you read the appropriate information on the event including the formalities you will need to go through on the day. These may include, safety inspections and rider briefings. Jet ski racing provides a high octane experience so above all don't forget to enjoy it!

Read more in our guide on licences and qualifications needed to ride a jet ski.

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Becoming a jet ski Instructor

To become an instructor and take this course, you must be over 16 years old, have the RYA personal watercraft proficiency certificate, have at least two years' experience of driving jet skis and hold a valid first aid certificate. So if you're an experienced jet skier and you would like to help others to enjoy their personal watercraft safely. The RYA runs a personal watercraft instructors course that takes three days to complete. To become an instructor and take this course, you must be over 16 years old, have the RYA personal watercraft proficiency certificate, have at least two years' experience of driving jet skis and hold a valid first aid certificate.

Once you have the instructor's certificate, you are qualified to teach the proficiency course, as well as the new introduction to personal watercraft safety course, which is generally run for guests on superyacht charter holidays. As well as gaining your certificate, it is also worth remembering that your standard jet ski insurance policy will not cover you for business use, and that you will need to speak to your insurance company about specialist cover.

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Do you need insurance for a jet ski?

In short, if or when you are renting a jet ski, your insurance should be included as part of the rental price. But if you own or are racing a jet ski then you'll need to look into acquiring your own jet ski insurance policy.

Our jet ski insurance provides tiered levels of protection - Bronze, Silver or Gold - so you can choose how much or how little we cover. And whichever level you choose, you can enjoy your jet ski knowing that you have £100,000 legal expenses and £3m third party liability cover as standard.

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Insuring your jet ski while in transit

Unless you store your jet ski in a boat shed near where you take it out, you’ll probably need to transport it to a nearby lake or sea front. That may mean putting your ski on a trailer and driving to your destination.

Naturally, when your jet ski is being towed, it’s at greater risk of incident. So, we offer in-transit cover as part of our jet ski insurance policy to protect your jet ski whilst you’re on your way to a great day out on the water.

If your jet ski is damaged whilst in transit either in an accident you have yourself – crashing into a tree for example – or an accident involving someone else, our policy will pay out. Excesses do apply though so be sure to check your cover.

In-transit cover doesn’t cover third party liability. That means, if your trailer or vehicle damages someone else’s vehicle, our policy will not pay out for the damage caused.

However, you should be able to claim on your regular car insurance for this but check that the car insurance does extend to the trailer. Ask a Towergate adviser for more details on cover while your jet ski is travelling.

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Keeping your jet ski safe from theft

Watch our video guide to anti-theft advice for jet ski owners, which highlights some of the devices and storage solutions you can use to help protect your equipment from being stolen.

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Jet ski insurance from Towergate

Our jet ski insurance provides tiered levels of protection - bronze, silver or gold - so you can choose how much or how little we cover. And whichever level you choose, you can enjoy your jet ski knowing that you have £3 million third party liability cover as standard.

See more in our video guides to jet ski cover.

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About the author

Adam Summersby is a respected leader with 11 years’ varied experience in niche personal and commercial lines insurance, including caravan, site operators and excess reimbursement, with proficiency in leadership, sales and account management.