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  1. #1

    First time taking my seadoo out to Florida

    Hi guys

    I' will be travelling down to Florida, in the clearwater area, from Canada and will be taking my Seadoo with me.

    It will be my first time navigating US waters and going out on the ocean on my Seadoo.

    I'm used to all the Canadian rules and know most of them are the same.

    Just want to make sure what are the restrictions when beaching (public beaches/ state parks / preserves )? Any zones I should avoid navigating? Any hints on going out on open seas?


  2. #2

    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Dalton, Ga.
    I will be doing the same thing next week..first time

  3. #3
    Click avatar for tech links/info K447's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    near Toronto, Canada
    Read up on the rules and other things that are different.

    Also check on required equipment, and consider what gear may not be in the rules but would be a good idea.

    Even the channel/region settings on your marine VHF radio will be different in US waters than in Canada.

    I have a proper GPS chartplotter navigation unit mounted in front of the handlebars, offset so I can also see the PWC dash display. With a detail marine chart loaded for the area, you can plan routes, avoid underwater obstructions, and know where the channels are.

    Waters in Florida can be complex with many overlapping zones, rules, etc.

    Are you rigged for self-help in big water? Experience, gear, automatic sensing high flow bilge pump, etc?

    Do you have a riding buddy?

  4. #4
    I've read a few websites. Nothing is really different appart from the visual signals, so I will be carrying flares.
    They might also require a proof a property so a copy of my sales contact will be aboard.
    Obviously avoid restrictions zones. From what I can read they will be identified by signs...

    I don't plan to go very far out thought, but I guess that sea and lake riding is different.

    I will be alone, and I have a GPS on my boat but not my seadoo and don't plan on investing for one.

  5. #5
    DrivingZiggy's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Lafayette, LA
    Don't forget to check out PWC Trail Finder. You might find some freshwater trails you'd like to check out. Oh, and also the Florida section.

  6. +1 by:

  7. #6
    You're just gonna love it. They are strict with the no wake zones (understandable, for safety). Watch out for beaches marked as private such as those belonging to hotels and clubs and such. Florida is very pro-PWC and pro-boating. Just keep your eyes out for other boaters. Florida does not require a boating safety course or any formal license for non-commercial vessel so there are a lot of uneducated boaters out on the water.

  8. #7
    This is how I run a jetski shop in the desert nmpeter's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Elephant Butte New Mexico
    I might suggest striking up a conversation with a marine office if you happen to come across one. Explain your visiting and really want to stay in compliance during your trip.

    "What the one thing out of towners do that really piss you off"?

    Around here the thing that really pisses off rangers is people being on a ski without a PFD. Even if the motor isn't running.
    The other, getting too close to big boats. That's pretty much a given.

    Keep in mind that the line of sight on a bigger boat can make you all but invisible when the other boat is on plane.

    Don't make any assumptions. It's likely intentions will not be clearly signaled when passing and so on.

    keep a throw away air horn on your PFD. Just in case.

  9. #8
    TimeBandit's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Tampa Bay
    Clearwater? That’s the area I live, as this is part of the greater Tampa Bay area.

    Restricted water ways are typically clearly marked – usually by wooden pylons sticking out of the water with signage marking the parameter. Two most common you might see (aside from the usual channel markers) are Minimum Wake Zones and No Combustion Engine Zones. These are usually designated wildlife estuaries for sea grasses and the manatees that feed on them - both of which are usually shallow thus avoided anyways. Manatee populations are highest this time of year, so be on the lookout constantly. Dolphins are very common as well.

    I’d use Google maps (or Bing maps) in satellite viewing mode to help pre-identify shallow areas to be avoided. Someone not from around here could easy be surprised by the many shoals and shallow flats not easily seen in our dark to blue/green waters. GPS plotter is great advice.

    You can beach the PWC as long as:
    a) there isn’t a sign posted on shore/land – aka public/private restricted, or designated wildlife sanctuary.
    b) there aren’t swimmer buoys floating offshore demarking a designated swimmer’s area. Note: there can be miles of these buoys up and down the beaches.

    Beaches/shore can be public or private now (a law recently passed). However, “wet sand” is always designated public regardless.

    It is preferred to use either public ramps or private marinas to get in and out of the water. Most public ramps have fresh water flushing – yet you will want to always bring your own water hose.

    Clearwater beach is facing the open gulf, and it can be quite choppy and swells this time of year – as we typically have many days of windy conditions, between a day and a half of calm. Timing is everything.

    Seaweed - our area can commonly have random floating seaweed trails which you should stay clear of. The dead/dying grass WILL quickly clog up your intake grate. Best way to clear it - turn off the ski before it over heats, go for a swim, reach down under and free the 'birds nest' clump from the intake.

    Lastly, can I suggest (on a calm day) that you head a few miles south to the Ft. Desoto State park. There is a huge ramp area and many water ways, paths, and sandbars to visit. Lots a shallow flats too, so stick near the channels if in-doubt.

    Reminder: PWCs are only legally operated during daytime hours - FL State law.

    If you want any additional pointers while you are here, feel free to PM me.

  10. +1 by:

  11. #9
    Great advice guys, especially Timebandit! Thanks!

    I know the Fort de soto park and probably will be there most of the time.

    Are Passage key and Egmont key 2 places we can legally go to and beach?

  12. #10
    Click avatar for tech links/info K447's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    near Toronto, Canada
    Quote Originally Posted by espritv8 View Post
    I don't plan to go very far out though, but I guess that sea and lake riding is different.

    I will be alone, and I have a GPS on my boat but not my seadoo and don't plan on investing for one.
    If you drop your smartphone overboard or it stops working (for any reason), will you be able to navigate back to your starting point?

    That is just one reason to have a stand-alone navigation device.

    In sunshine it can be hard to read a smartphone display, and if you want to read it while moving at speed, holding it in one hand while riding can risk losing it, or just not being able to read it very well until you slow down.

    Smartphones can also overheat when used continuously with GPS active in warm air combined with sun heating. Typically it should self-protect and shut itself down, or at least make the screen very dim, so not usable until it cools down.
    Last edited by K447; 12-20-2018 at 09:26 AM.

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