How to Ride a Stand Up Jet Ski

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The rush of excitement that comes with speeding through the water on a high powered personal watercraft is difficult to describe. Learning to ride is worth the many times you'll be flung off the jet ski into the lake water.Riding a stand up jet ski looks easy--just like riding a bicycle looks easy until you try it for the first time and crash into a tree. In truth, learning to ride a stand up jet ski is about as easy as learning to ride a bicycle. Both just take some practice.

Things You'll Need

  • Life jacket
  • Stand-up jet ski
  • Move the jet ski into knee high or upper thigh-high water. You will need to then board the craft carefully or you will fall off. Approach the jet ski from the rear and bring one knee up to the floor of the jet ski and then bring up your other knee onto the jet ski.

  • If you are using a jet ski that has a safety key, insert the safety key (which is attached to a lanyard and should be attached to your wrist at all times while riding the jet ski) and turn on the engine. Press the throttle slowly to pull away from shore. If you give the jet ski too much gas too quickly, you will likely fall into the water so be easy on the throttle until you get a feel for it.

  • Ride on your knees for a while to get used to maneuvering the jet ski. Practice a few wide turns like this to get a feel for how the craft handles turns. Always give the jet ski more gas when making turns or the turn will usually fail.

  • Pull one knee up and place the sole of your foot on the floor of the jet ski. Then carefully lift yourself to a standing position, placing the other foot on the floor. For added stability, one foot should be further back, toward the rear of the craft, than the other.

  • Shift your weight slightly when making turns. This doesn’t mean you should lean your whole body over—do that and you will fall into the water. What it means is that jet skis respond to shifts in weight, which is one reason people fall off of them so frequently—it doesn’t take much to lose balance on a jet ski.

Tips & Warnings

  • It takes practice to get used to the feel of a stand-up jet ski.
  • If you fall off the jet ski, don't worry. It won't go far away from you if you are wearing the safety key lanyard and the key was removed as you were thrown into the water.
  • Always wear a life jacket when riding a jet ski. You will inevitably fall (or be flung) into the water at some point. You will be tired, you may hit your head. The risk of drowning is too high if you don't wear a life jacket. Also, in many places it is illegal not to wear a life preserver when operating a watercraft.
  • If the engine dies, you will probably fall off; if you turn too sharply, you will fall off; and if you hit a large wake, you will often be flung off the jet ski and will land very hard in the water.

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