Fun in the sun: 5 things you should know to ride a watercraft
In this new era of staycations and social distancing, there has been a heightened interest in outdoor recreational activities, especially with watersports and watercraft. According to the National Marine Manufacturers Association, watercraft sales are up as much as 75% compared to last year, making it one of the fastest growing activities out there. With the rise in popularity of watercraft and more boats out on the water, Sea-Doo maker BRP is offering tips to those who are ready to venture out in the open water.
“The Sea-Doo life is about adventure, fun and unforgettable experiences, and that’s as important now as it has ever been,” said Annick Lauzon, Director, Global Marketing, Sea-Doo. “More and more people are discovering motorized water sports, and they’re getting to know what experienced riders have known all along: very few things in life eliminate stress like spending time on the open water. In fact, it’s hard to find anyone on a Sea-Doo who has a frown!”
Here are five things Sea-Doo recommends before starting your adventure:
1. Check if you need a license.
With the increase in watercraft popularity, more riders will be out on the water, and it’s important you have all the information when traveling lake-to-lake, finding your favorite river spot, or riding in the open ocean. Each state (province) has its own rules and regulations regarding licensing and proper age to operate a watercraft. Check out the Boat U.S. Foundation or Boat-Ed.com to know the regulations in your region.
2. Have a good understanding of your watercraft before you hit the waves.
Get to know the general functions of your watercraft. It might be obvious, but spend some time on land learning the controls and functions so you can hit the water with confidence. Sea-Doo recommends you check out your operator’s guide, know your fuel level, and understand the general best operational practices so you’re good to go before heading away from shore.
3. Be chill and remember to share the water with others.
Respect everyone on the water and surroundings, and adopt a fun and safe riding style. Be mindful of signs and reminders to slow down or stay out of restricted areas. Also, keep a safe distance away from others and the shoreline. Watercraft were meant for social distancing even before it was a thing! Finally, never ride under the influence of drugs or alcohol as it puts everyone’s safety at risk.
4. Wear the right gear.
A life jacket (aka Personal Flotation Device or PFD) is a no-brainer even if you know how to swim. For additional safety, Sea-Doo reminds riders to wear the tether cord connected to the ignition switch on your life jacket at all times. In the event you end up in the water, that tether cuts the engine power and you can get right back on. Also, you and your passenger should always wear a wetsuit bottom in neoprene for protection. And finally, take sunglasses to increase the cool factor and for protection from the sun and the elements!
5. Pay attention to the environment.
Leave your playground and surroundings cleaner than you found it. Protecting nature and the outdoors is what will keep watersports and recreational activities going for decades to come. Don’t throw trash in the water or surrounding areas. And respect the animals in the area – after all, it’s their home.
By following these tips, watercraft riders will not only be able to take advantage of water fun but get in some healthy escape therapy, recharge their metaphorical batteries and practice social distancing to create great memories from this unforgettable summer.