21 Oct 2021
How to Jetski Like a Pro in Destin, Florida
Jetskiing in Destin, Florida, offers thrill-seekers the chance to experience the breathtaking beauty of the Emerald Coast from a whole new perspective. But if you’re new to jetskiing, this activity can be tricky to master, especially if you’re trying to do it on your own in open water or in choppy waves. To help you out, we put together this guide on how to jetski like a pro in Destin, Florida. Follow our tips and tricks for safety and success!
1) Why should you jetski?
With its crystal-clear waters and white sand beaches, Destin/Okaloosa Island is an ideal place for beginners. And when you're not zipping through Fort Walton Beach or cruising around Okaloosa Island at top speeds of 50 miles per hour (one of our favorite activities in Destin), there are plenty of other water sports to try. But you won't find any better time on your jetski than when you're following these tips.
2) Know your equipment
No matter what your skill level is, you want to know how your jetski works and what all of its safety features are. Jetskis can be dangerous—and deadly—if you’re not familiar with their workings. It’s vital that you know how it works so that you don’t have an accident on the water. Familiarize yourself with all of your jetski equipment before hopping on—especially if it’s been a while since you last used one. You should learn how to use your jetski’s throttle control; how to restart it in case it stalls; where everything is located (like your life jacket); and basic maneuvers like slowing down or changing directions. Consult manuals for specifics on individual models. The importance of knowing how your jetski works cannot be overstated. If you haven’t done it in a while, take some time to review before getting back on the water!
3) Respect the Water
Always remember that no matter how long you’ve been riding waves or boats—or how good you think you are—you’re on an entirely different playing field when it comes to jetskis. Before taking on any watercraft, even if it's just for fun, be sure you check weather conditions and plan accordingly. Always wear a life jacket. Don't take friends who aren't experienced out with you on your jetski, because they could hurt themselves or cause problems for you. And lastly but perhaps most importantly: always respect nature. Too many people underestimate what can happen in an instant when you're jetskiing. A tip from someone who has fallen victim to these natural forces before: never go near rip currents. Those powerful tides move so quickly and so intensely that they can knock people off their feet and pull them out into the sea at such speed. You can actually drown 50 yards away from shore without ever knowing what happened; one minute you're floating along peacefully, and then it feels like something yanks you under forever. There have been far too many cases of innocent jetskier fatalities because of underestimating the power of nature in open waters. Don't take chances! If you want to ride a jetski safely, stick close to shore where there is easy access to land. Do not attempt to start anything here if you know absolutely nothing about things that swim in water--sharks, dolphins, and jellyfish included! Always wear your PFD (Personal Flotation Device) while jetskiing. There are plenty of reasons why it is important - probably more than you may realize until you find yourself needing it. Here's another one for ya...Life vests keep sharks from eating you!! Seriously though, don't mess around with being out there without being prepared - ALWAYS WEAR YOUR PFD!!!
4) Practice Safely
To jetski like a pro, you first need to understand that safety should be your top priority. Although maneuvering quickly and performing jumps looks cool and adds excitement, it’s important not to let showmanship endanger you or your friends and family. Always wear proper personal floatation devices (PFDs) while boating—especially when jetskiing. And avoid stunts such as jumping off bridges or ramps; these tricks are extremely dangerous for those who don’t know what they’re doing. If you want to look badass without putting yourself at risk, stick with basic maneuvers like figure eights, straightaways, and water turns. Once you master basic skills, check out our guide on how to jump safely. Another way to have fun jetskiing is to work together with other boat operators. Keep your eyes open for others, particularly near bridge crossings. If someone seems inexperienced, don’t hesitate to lend a hand. In addition to making sure everyone has PFDs on board, help them learn how to handle their boats safely. Lastly, if there are children around make sure you follow all of Florida boating laws. Never allow kids under 12 years old on a jetski unless they’re accompanied by an adult over 18 years old who holds a valid driver's license and has taken a Boater Education Course. You may also want to consider enrolling them in lessons if they’ve never been behind the wheel before. Either way, jet skis can be loads of fun—just make sure you do it safely!
5) Consider kayaking, paddleboarding or boating if you are not ready to jump into jetskis
If you’re not used to riding on water (or if you’re nervous), consider kayaking, paddle boarding or going out on a boat first. These activities are fun and good for your upper body strength—and they have a lower center of gravity. As you gain confidence and feel more comfortable being on the water, move up to using a jetski or a jet-ski trainer board. Paddleboarding is also relaxing—you don’t have to worry about anything except standing up. If you have multiple family members interested in riding jetskis together, go out as a group so you can all help each other. Start with getting on and off safely before even taking off. Practice with your instructor at least once on land with no waves before getting into open water with small waves. When it comes time to learn turns, ask for assistance from an experienced rider nearby who is able to help you learn how to turn. You can then practice turning by yourself near that person, who will assist you when needed until he feels comfortable that you are ready to go solo. Have fun! But be careful! Be sure to wear your personal flotation device (PFD) and always follow any instructions given by your instructors. Always make sure another set of eyes can see what you are doing; that way someone else is watching for trouble should something happen while you may not be able to see past those beautiful blue waters! Be safe!!!