Here in South Florida, we are fortunate enough to have very mild winters. That means it is possible to enjoy jet skiing year round. But just because we have warm winters does not mean you can ignore safety. Here are some winter jet ski safety practices you should adhere to.
#1. Check the Weather Forecast
Although we do have mild winters, there are approximately ten days each year when the temperatures dip below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. When that happens, the water temperature will drop significantly. Accordingly, you’ll be at a much higher risk for developing hypothermia in the event you were to fall off of your jet ski.
Riding becomes even more hazardous whenever temperatures fall below freezing. Thankfully, that only happens once every few years or so, but it’s something to be mindful of nonetheless.
Aside from outdoor temperature, it’s important to ride only on calm, clear days. When it’s especially windy outside, the water will be rougher and choppier than usual. In turn, the odds of you capsizing will be greater, as well.
Thunder and lightning pose a special hazard to riders year round. So you should never ride during a thunderstorm (or whenever one is imminent). Lightning strikes can potentially be deadly, particularly when they take place out at sea.
#2. Don’t Drink and Drive
Many people believe that having an alcoholic beverage will help them warm up before going out on the water. However, drinking and driving is just as dangerous at sea as it is on land. As such, one of the most important winter jet ski safety tips is to avoid alcohol during your ride as well as up to four hours before.
According to the U.S. Coast Guard, alcohol is a leading factor in 21% of all boating deaths. This means that hundreds of fatalities could potentially be avoided each year if individuals would refrain from consuming alcohol.
#3. Consider a Wetsuit
A wetsuit is always a good idea, especially when riding a jet ski in winter. Wetsuits provide some protection against seasonally cold winds, which can seem especially sharp when coming off the water. And if you do wind up falling in, you’ll at least be partially insulated against the frigid temperatures.
#4. Always Wear a Life Jacket
This is an important practice regardless of the season. Even if you are a very strong swimmer, you’re probably no match for rugged ocean currents. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you do not need a life jacket. If you don’t have one, we will be happy to provide you one at the time of your rental.
Come on Down, the Water is Fine
It may be getting a little cooler outside, but the water here in Miami is still wonderful. Keep the above winter jet ski safety tips in mind and then stop by when you are ready for your next rental.