Personal watercraft (PWC) which include Jet Skis, WaveRunners and Sea-Doos continue to outstrip all other types of power craft in sales figures across Australia. This is due, in part, to the fact they are compact, easy to store, tow and launch, and can be great fun.
Boating Industry Association President Darren Vaux said the trend in popularity looks set to continue this summer. “National sales of PWC last year totalled 6800, this is up from 4630 in 2009 and there are now more than 76,000 across Australia,” Vaux said.
“The boating industry supports safe, responsible and enjoyable boating, and the latest developments in personal watercraft can deliver all of these, while technology continues to deliver improved environmental outcomes.”
PWC have reduced emission levels by 90 per cent since 1996. They are now among the cleanest and most environmentally friendly power craft on the water. Noise emissions have also reduced by 70 per cent compared with 10 years ago through improvements such as the latest in sound-dampening technology.
With the arrival of summer, PWC activity is set to increase especially for the holiday season, according to Australian Recreational Boating Safety Committee Chair Angus Mitchell.
“The majority of people who ride personal watercraft are people who are keen to do the right thing,” said Mitchell who is also Maritime Safety Queensland General Manager.
“There is a minority however who can cause a nuisance and that usually centres around speeding and not keeping a safe distance – especially from people in or by the water.”
“We want everyone to enjoy our diverse waterways, we also want everyone to be considerate of other waterways users during peak times and ultimately we would like to encourage safe practices while operating PWC this coming summer season”.
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Both industry and the regulator support the following PWC safety tips:
- Always wear an appropriate lifejacket when riding regardless of speed and that goes for everyone on board;
- Always wear a cut-off switch lanyard when underway;
- Always keep to a safe speed for the conditions;
- Always keep a safe distance: clear of others, the shore, structures, other craft and especially people in the water;
- Know your limits, and your vessel’s, and don’t push them;
- You’re the skipper – you’re responsible for the safe operation of your craft and for the safety of others;
- Know the rules and learn how to ride safely;
- Ensure that you are fully aware of the controls to effectively handle your craft in an emergency situation (brake or deceleration device);
- Always check the weather before you head out and let someone know where you are going.