Get involved with jet skiing

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.

New to jet skiing

it's important to ensure that you have been shown the basics before getting on a craft

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 watersports centres which have jet skis for hire and which offer tuition and unless you are taking your own craft, you will not need jet ski insurance for this, although 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 watersport, 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.

Buying a jet ski

From a safety point of view it is always best to match the Jet Ski to your own capabilities.  There are many types of jet ski on the market - from stand-up, solo craft, sport craft, two seater to those with three or four seats. From a safety point of view it is always best to match the jet ski to your own capabilities, and 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.

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.

Racing your jet ski

To get started with jet ski racing you will first need to apply for membership of the Jetsport 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.

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). They will issue you with an induction book, a rule book and a race number, as well as a RYA race licence which includes third party liability jet ski insurance for use while you are racing. 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. Once 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, craft safety inspections and rider briefings. Jet ski racing provides a high adrenaline experience so above all don't forget to enjoy it!

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 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.

What about jet ski insurance?

At Towergate we are jet ski insurance experts and well trained to cater for you insurance needs.

With tiered levels of protection - Bronze, Silver or Gold - 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.

All facts correct at the time of publishing (12/06/2012)

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