Top 60 Boating Tips by Boating Magazine

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Mosquitoes and Other Annoying Buzzing Things

Many of us are annoyed at small things that buzz, and cause us to flinch and shake our heads in disbelief. Yet, all such things cannot be eliminated simply with a flyswatter or a large can of Raid. Yes, I am talking about Personal Water Craft or PWC. Sometimes better known as Jet Skis, water bikes, Sea-Doo's or similar, although I have heard them, and their operators, called things I won't mention here!

PWC's, ridden responsibly, are great fun. They provide a relatively inexpensive means for tens of thousands to enjoy the water, and unfortunately, for a few to be careless, irresponsible and, in some cases, downright negligent. As a result of such carelessness,often on the part of other riders, some have died, and many others have suffered serious injury.

PWC's are not toys. They are high performance, high speed water craft that should be handled as seriously as one handles a high performance boat or car. There is a time and place for speed and fun, and a time to operate slowly and cautiously. Launching areas, marinas, mooring areas and high boat traffic areas are NOT the place to operate at high speeds.

Many of the new models are multi-rider capable and have high-horsepower engines. Although manufacturers agreed to limit speeds of to 65 miles per hour, tuners have brought the speeds way beyond that and, in many cases, far beyond the safe handling capacity of the vessel, or the operator.

PWC operators, like any boat operator, are responsible for the damage done by their wake. Running too fast in a marina area can result in boats at berth being damaged. Running in or close to swimming areas can result in injury or even death to swimmers. And, jumping wakes too close to the stern of large vessels can have catastrophic results. At that point, the PWC operator cannot see approaching vessels, and may easily run into, or be run over, by a vessel moving in the opposite direction.

All craft, whether larger vessels or PWC's, need to observe the rules of the road, and use common sense in operating their craft. Failure to do so will result in injury, death, and the one thing we all dislike most, more regulation. The move has been afoot for years for operator licensing for boats, and some states have enacted laws that require a permit to operate a boat. Due to the proliferation of personal water craft, and the carelessness of some operators, even some boat owners are calling for licensing, or at least mandatory safety education, for PWC operators.

There are a lot of responsible boaters, and PWC owners out there. It's up to each and every one of us to operate our craft in a safe, responsible manner. If we don't, restriction, regulation and laws will hamper everyones enjoyment of our waters.

So, like mosquitoes, PWC are not likely to go away any time soon. We must learn to live with them. But, keep that flyswatter and can of Raid handy, anyway. It won't help with the PWC's, but it might help if you decide to head for the bush to rid yourself of the incessant drone of those PWC's!

Safe Boating!

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