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Jet Ski in Destin

Updated on July 20, 2016

Whether you want to zip around Destin north of Emerald Coast Parkway near Crab Island and the calmer waters of Choctawhatchee Bay, cruise around the Destin Harbor to view all the high-dollar homes and take in the sites of the fishing boats coming in for the day, or venture out a bit further into the waves of the Gulf of Mexico, doing it on a jet ski is an ideal way to get a thrill. Personal water crafts are among the most maneuverable and fastest boats on the waterways.

When tourist season along the Emerald Coast is in full swing, you might want to call ahead to some Destin jet ski rental companies to check on availability and make a reservation to ensure that you can have your turn for fun on the water.

The warm sun beating down on your back, the wind in your face, the sea spray dampening your hair, the sheer speed as you twist and turn and jump waves is incredible.

When you’re idling along, it’s easy to take in your surroundings, find new people to talk to and feel a sense of community in your shared passtime.

Just be aware that it’s not all fun and games. There are a couple of safety precautions to be aware of, and if you follow them, your adventure should be a blast.

First, know that you must be at least 14 years old to operate a personal water craft. And you need to take an online safety course and get an ID showing you have completed the class.

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Safety First

During peak tourist season, the waterways can see high traffic with a wide variety of vessels sharing the water.

If your watercraft is being passed or overtaken by another vessel, maintain your speed and direction. Keep in mind that if you let off the throttle completely, you will lose steering.

If you are approaching another watercraft facing head on, both operators should ease over to the right, just as if you were two automobiles on a road.

If a vessel is approaching from your right, slow down and let them pass.

If a larger vessel is approaching from behind, ease over to the right and let them pass you.

And as for smaller craft, or people nearby, don’t spray! It’s just not nice. And having good etiquette on the waterways makes everyone’s day better.

Keep a safe distance from other vessels and never try to ride close enough to jump their wake.

If people are fishing off a boat, don’t circle it. You will interfere with their lines or nets.

If you should happen to collide with another craft, be sure to help anyone who is injured and then report the injury.

Remember the three Rs. Red. Right. Returning. Meaning, if you are returning from the open water and see a red buoy, keep it to your right.

If you see a flag with a red square and white diagonal line, a “Diver Down” flag, you must go to idle speed within 100 feet of the flag when in a channel and you must do so within 300 feet in the open ocean.

Be sure to have an air horn or whistle with you so that you can signal if you are in distress. Florida law requires it. Perhaps you have engine trouble and get stranded. That can make for a bad sunburn or even heatstroke if you’re left bobbing around out there for too long. Good reasons to have a way to contact whomever is nearest and alert them that you need assistance.

Wear a personal floatation device or life jacket. Jet skis can easily reach about 65 mph, with some high-end models claiming to reach 80 mph. With that kind of momentum, it can be easy to be thrown off. You need to be safe in the water if your watercraft gets away from you.

And make sure you have the engine cutoff lanyard connected to you at all times. This serves as a “killswitch” so that the engine will die if you get thrown from the jet ski.

If you get into the shallows or sea grass and see mud coming from the back of the jet ski, get off the watercraft and walk the jet ski back into deeper water before climbing aboard to resume operation.

And remember, Florida law for operating a boat under the influence is the same as for automobiles. A 0.08 blood alcohol level or higher will get you in trouble, because it’s just not safe. Drinking will impair your judgment and slow your reaction time.

Always keep an eye on the skies. A gathering of dark clouds means bad weather is looming, and you do not want to be on the water if lightning starts up.

The primary cause for accidents on jet skis is careless operation. And the main cause of injury or death is falling off.

Please familiarize yourself with these dos and don’ts so you can safely enjoy this wonderful watersport.

Destin, FL

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Destin, FL 32541, USA
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