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  1. #51
    alostaunau's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by YoYamma View Post
    Many of those reading these forums are new to the sport. If you just made your first personal watercraft purchase WELCOME TO THE WORLD OF PWC!!!

    We often get new owners on here asking about safety issues and how to take care of their watercraft. Here are a few tips I typed out for another thread, others please feel free to add more comments as you see fit...

    In my experience the real "damage risk" on PWC's comes from IMPACTS and UNDERWATER OBJECTS, usually in several KEY AREAS...

    1. DOCKING THE SKI
    Without proper care they can easily get crunched on the pilings and smashed from wakes while tied to a dock, also coming in too fast is VERY common—99% of PWC have NO BRAKES—WHAM!!! If you have never operated a PWC before, be advised; they are NOT like driving a motorcycle and they are NOT exactly like steering a big boat either. Most models have no neutral which is confusing to a lot of new users. Usually this can be easily countered by modulating the forward/reverse lever while steering, but it takes a little patience. Any newbie can operate a PWC at high speed, but get them around a dock and—watch out! So if you are new to the machine, PRACTICE your slow maneuvering and reverse, and be extra careful around docks.

    2. TRAILERING THE SKI
    Again—coming in too fast is a common problem (SLOW DOWN) I have seen MANY boats and PWC get banged up bow areas from lack of patience and practice in trailering; CRUNCH! I have seen trailer bunks cracked in half because the operator hit the trailer so hard. Pay attention at the ramp, turn your radio down and no talking on the cell phone! When backing up your vehicle, make sure you have properly secured your craft before you take off. It is actually not uncommon for PWC to get dropped on the concrete ramp when they slide off the trailer, because the owner forgot to connect the bow ring to the strap. Before hitting the highway, make sure you use stern straps in back with safety chains or cables on the bow; we have seen more than one member who had their new watercraft fly off the trailer and end up on the road—OUCH!

    3. CHECK FOR LEAKS BEFORE GOING OUT
    From time to time, we do hear reports about dealers selling PWC with loose exhaust hoses and such, this can create a real disaster because your ski can fill up with water really fast and sink! It's a good idea to pull the seat off and check all hose clamps when you back it into the water at the ramp, (before you completely back it off the trailer); also you may want to consider adding a bilge pump. The pump won't always save the ski in every instance, but it might give you a few extra minutes to get to shore in an emergency. Also, we know that a few models have shown a tendency to get cracks in the pump tunnel below the waterline, so you need to be aware of that and take appropriate preventative measures to avoid an emergency situation out on the water.

    4. HITTING ANOTHER BOAT
    Or another boat hitting you, it's easy to do, keep your eyes on the water when underway and constantly scan around your craft for other vessels (avoid tunnel vision). In particular, watch out for impacts with other PWC, avoid riding in close groups with aggressive riders. Accidents can happen super fast on personal watercraft. Do NOT allow other skis to get close to you—there are some real idiots on the water, and by the same token—do NOT get close to others yourself. Watch out for impacts in marinas... fishing boats, weekend warriors, pontoons, etc. are all notorious for getting right up next to your docked or anchored ski—and wait until you see what his lifted outboard prop can do to your gel coat, OUCH!

    5. INJESTING or STRIKING SUBMERGED OBJECTS
    Not all damage is on the top side... avoid shallow water, don't EVER ride up on the bank and beach your PWC (experienced riders always laugh at people who do this). Cut the engine off, get off the ski in 2 or 3 feet of water and wade it in to the shore. Watch out for logs, oyster bars, floating weeds, cement blocks, debris, ski ropes and rocks; many of these can impact your hull or get SUCKED UP into your grate and cause SERIOUS damages in a matter of seconds. At the very least, you will damage your wear ring and this can cause a significant loss in performance! I can't tell you how many newbs have caused major damage to their ski simply from running over a ski rope, it happens all the time. Are you listening? Read your manual, and play it smart.

    6. JUMPING THE SKI
    This is a lot of fun, all of us have done it, but it's not a good idea on these heavier 4 stroke models—they are simply not designed for it. Still, we have people who will go out and launch their ski off six, seven or eight foot waves, smash back into the water and wonder why they are damaging their machines. You can easily get cracks in the hull, tear off your reverse bucket or break a motor mount. Breaking a mount can shift the engine out of alignment and damage the seal on the shaft which can sink your PWC in a matter of seconds. Are you listening? Check your manual, they are very specific about jumping waves, and if you crack the hull or flood and hydro-lock your engine your dealer will laugh at you because abuse of your watercraft is NOT covered under warranty. I won't even talk about the damage you can do to your teeth if you slip and face-plant that handlebar without a helmet. Wanna catch big air? Get a wakeboard.

    7. LOANING THE SKI
    It never fails; how many times have we seen the posts on this forum; "MY BUDDY CRASHED MY @#&% SKI," or "MY BUDDY RAN IT WITHOUT OIL," or "MY BUDDY SUCKED UP A SKI ROPE"... well, why did you LOAN IT TO THEM? I would venture to say that MOST accidents happen like this, you have been warned—be VERY cautious about loaning out your PWC and make sure you take time to instruct them on slow maneuvering before they leave the ramp area, because eventually they will be heading back to the dock and that takes us back to number 1 above.

    8. KIDS AND PWC
    Kids love to go fast, and many of these modern PWC's often have engines in the 200 hp range (not your Daddy's ski), so you need to be very cautious and make sure you check the local laws in your state with regard to allowing minors to operate your watercraft! Are you listening? For example, in Florida; to operate a vessel powered by a motor of 10 horsepower or greater (including PWCs), a person 21 years of age or younger must have completed a boater education course, and carry both the card and ID at all times they are on the water. Furthermore, no one under 14 years of age may operate any PWC on Florida waters at any time, even if they possess a Boating Safety Education ID Card! AND, It is also illegal for the owner of a PWC to knowingly allow a person under 14 years of age to operate their PWC! Again, make sure you check the local laws in your state and please be careful because many of these watercraft have more horsepower than a lot of cars and we want not only your PWC to be safe but also your kids to be safe!

    9. PERSONAL SAFETY
    While we are talking safety, don't forget to avoid damage to your body out there. We hear a lot about wearing life vests and wet suit bottoms to avoid injuries, but one thing I want to mention is EYE PROTECTION. Yep, I ALWAYS wear sunglasses. I have been hit by some BIG bugs out on the water, and they hurt when they hit; people tend to forget we have no windshields and we are often moving at 65 mph or more -- OUCH!!! We have seen riders get serious eye injuries from impacts with bugs; it's no fun, so wear glasses or goggles!

    10. MAINTAIN INSURANCE
    No matter how careful you are, accidents happen. If a hose pops off or a seal fails, your expensive PWC can completely fill with water and sink before you even realize what's happening. No matter where you live, there are thieves and they LOVE to steal personal watercraft. They will steal them right out of your backyard. We had one member here who had his brand new ski stolen from the parking lot before he ever got it home! Still, I am always surprised to see people on this forum who claim to be riding these powerful watercraft with no insurance. This is a HUGE personal liability and a big mistake, especially in today's world of lawsuit-happy citizens! Besides the very high risk of theft, the risk of personal injury to you and others makes this crazy. The policies are only a few hundred a year so smarten up and make sure you're covered.

    11. EXTENDED WARRANTY
    Some of the PWC manufacturers offer outstanding extended warranties. Although you don't always have to buy it at the sale, (you can usually wait until just before your one year anniversary is up) you would have to be a complete fool not to get the extended warranty. One dropped valve on a supercharged 4 stroke and you can have $7,000 in parts and certified labor. PWC repairs are not like cars or motorcycles. You have been warned; it's cheap insurance and you can sometimes get it for up to 5 years, SO GET IT! Note; if you wait until AFTER the first year anniversary of your purchase date you will NOT be able to get it, so don't blow this! Also, make sure you read the fine print carefully; we have seen some variations in warranty repair policies in certain states.

    If you are buying a used ski; ALWAYS try and find one with a transferrable extended warranty. I cannot stress this enough! Some of the models have long histories of specific problems (such as ceramic clutch washer failures) and in some cases this can create real headaches for second-hand owners.

    Okay have fun out there, obey the law, ALWAYS wear your PFD and ENJOY YOUR PERSONAL WATERCRAFT...
    Good post Yo!


  2. #52
    Stevie-Ray's Avatar
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    So far, only #1 for me. First was my 3rd time out and I had already expertly docked it like I had been doing it all my life the first two times. This time, though, was different. I had stupidly left it in sport mode. When a correction was necessary, and I simply tapped the throttle like usual, the damn thing leapt out of the water and hit the ramp. Nice damage to my brand new hull. Cost me a bundle to fix, but it was as new when I got it back in a couple days. That was over a month ago. Just the other day I took a chunk out of the rubber front guard on a bolt poking out of the dock. The bolts are generally too high, but another rookie mistake, starting the engine before taking the front dockline off, took care of the height difference, as my dockline snagged on the throttle. Hope that's my last screwup. Some black silicone worked pretty well on that.

  3. #53
    YoYamma's Avatar
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