Play it safe
Keep it green
Please keep these safety tips in your watercraft or boat at all times and make sure that you and everyone aboard understands them all prior to leaving dock and observes them once out on the water.
Know and understand all operational features of the craft you are riding - read and follow your Operator's Guide.
Ensure your watercraft is Coast Guard-compliant and has all required equipment.
Securely attach engine cutoff lanyard to your wrist or Personal Flotation Device (PFD). Keep attached at all times.
All watercraft riders must wear a properly fitted, U.S. Coast Guard-approved PFD. The operator and passenger(s) of watercraft must wear protective clothing, including:
A wet suit bottom or thick, tightly woven, snug-fitting clothing that provides equivalent protection. Thin bike shorts for example would not be appropriate. Severe internal injuries can occur if water is forced into body cavities as a result of falling into water or being near jet thrust nozzle.
Normal swim wear does not adequately protect against forceful water entry into the lower body opening(s) of males or females.
Footwear, gloves and goggles/glasses are also recommended. Some type of lightweight, flexible foot protection is recommended. This will help reduce possible injury, should you step on sharp underwater objects.
Know your vessel’s capacity – don't overload.
Stay alert and be aware of your surroundings. Constantly look in all directions for skiers, divers, swimmers and other boats or watercraft.
Keep a safe distance! Avoid wake jumping, splashing and passing close to any other vessels.
Know the waters you will be operating in and observe all applicable federal, state and local boating laws.
Know the weather conditions – tune into your local forecast.
Stay clear of all restricted areas.
Obey ALL posted signs, such as "NO WAKE," "RIGHT OF WAY," "IDLE" and other navigation signs.
Never consume alcohol or drugs before or while operating a watercraft or boat.
All operators must be of legal age to operate the craft you will be riding.
BRP recommends a minimum operator of 16 years of age to ride.
Always operate at a safe speed and be prepared to stop or alter course in emergencies. Ride within your limits, and allow sufficient distance to stop.
Whether you're heading in or out, always maintain a slow speed until you're in a clear area, away from shore.
Know and understand right-of-way rules.
Remember you need throttle power to steer.
Stay in sight of shore, but avoid operating too close to residential and congested areas. Be considerate of others who share the waterways.
A boating safety course is strongly recommended.
Personal watercraft riders and boaters must share the waterways with other boaters, fishermen, swimmers, surfers, and skiers. We therefore all have a responsibility to respect each other’s rights to safe enjoyment of the water.
A Safe Boating Course will give you the skills you need to be a safe and courteous Sea-Doo watercraft or boat owner.
Right of Way
Follow these basic guidelines for safe, courteous fun on the water:
Sailboats, commercial vessels, and fishing vessels always have the right of way.
Stay to the right of other vessels when approaching an oncoming craft, so that it passes on your left side.
When overtaking another boat or watercraft, pass on the right or left, but stay clear.
If you are about to cross paths with another boat or watercraft, the craft on the right side has the right of way.
Passing Port to Port
When approaching another vessel to your port (left), you can proceed normally.
Passing Starboard to Starboard
When approaching another vessel to your starboard (right), you can proceed normally.
Meeting Head to Head
When approaching a boat or watercraft head on, always keep to the starboard (right).
Traffic on the water. Constantly check for other water enthusiasts, especially near you, and know where they're heading before you make a turn or cross a wake.
Wave or wake jumping. If your course takes you across the wake of another boat, make sure your visibility is not obstructed by that boat. Stay far enough behind it so that you can see if other traffic is coming your way.
Operating speed. Follow local regulations regarding speed limits, whether posted or not. In congested areas, lower your speed.
Launch Ramp Etiquette
Be considerate and efficient when launching your personal watercraft or boat. Prepare your gear beforehand, and perform all safety checks before you get into the water. Launch quietly and in a timely manner.
Be considerate of waterfront property owners and others near and on the water. Excessive noise from a poorly maintained or modified exhaust system disturbs others and is illegal in many areas.
Respect ecologically sensitive areas. Do not spill fuel or oil, and do not leave litter or other pollutants where they don't belong. Be sensitive to marine life – the water is their home.
Prior to picking up your brand new Sea-Doo watercraft, make sure you are comfortable trailering it.
The first step is to make sure you have the right hitch on your tow vehicle. Select a Class I or II hitch, depending on which Sea-Doo model you choose. Check with your BRP dealer for the correct hitch. An empty parking lot is a great place to learn to trailer your new boat. Practice towing first, as you will want to get used to the added length, weight, and braking of the vehicle/trailer combination.
Once you feel comfortable with this phase you should be ready to practice backing up. Use one of the parking spaces as a make-believe launch ramp, and practice putting the trailer between the lines from different angles. Before you know it, you will quickly get used to steering in the opposite direction of where you want the trailer to go, and avoid over-steering. A method that many people feel comfortable with is putting your steering hand at the bottom of the wheel and moving your hand to the right to turn the trailer to the right and vice-versa.
Your first attempt may end up resembling a snake, but don't worry – we all had to learn and even the experts don't always get it right the first time.
When you're ready for your first launch be sure to check the ramp for obstacles or hazards.
Have your boat ready before you hit the ramp - tie downs removed, drain plugs in, all required equipment on board, blower activated. At the water's edge, unhook the winch strap, safety chain, and light wire connector. Upon returning, follow the steps in reverse. Always be aware that you are towing, as you will want to take wider turns to avoid curbs and vehicles around town.
Don't be afraid to ask your Sea-Doo dealer for some trailering tips. They are in business to help you.
So what are you waiting for? Go launch your watercraft and get your share of Sea-Doo fun!
An Environmental Guide for Watercraft Operators
©Personal Watercraft Industry Association
All PWC operators and boaters participate in the ecosystem, a system created by the interaction of a community of organisms with their environment. We are not separate from nature, but a part of it. As boaters, we cannot ignore the effect we have on the environment. The waters that we enjoy may be impacted by our actions. Every boater has a responsibility to learn and use environmentally safe boating practices that will protect the waters for the future.
As a watercraft rider, you are considered a boater. Watercraft are defined as inboard boats by the U.S. Coast Guard and are required to follow all boating regulations.
The Personal Watercraft Industry Association (PWIA) encourages you to adopt the following simple guidelines to preserve our natural resources.
Beware and show you care by following these general rules.
Refuel on land to reduce any chances of spilling oil or gas into the water.
Fill the tank carefully. Do not over-fill the tank. If spillage occurs, catch any accidental spills with an absorbent pad. Dispose of the pad properly.
Check and clean your engine well away from shorelines. Water and fuel do not mix and can harm the water's delicate micro-organisms as well as the animals that feed on them, potentially upsetting the entire food chain.
In shallow waters, boats may stir up the bottom and suspended sediments, which limit light penetration and deplete oxygen. This can affect fish and bird feeding. To avoid this effect, ride in main channels and limit riding in shallow water.
When it is necessary to ride in shallow water, keep vessel at an idle speed. In coastal areas be aware of low tide; the waters may be substantially more shallow at these times, revealing sea grass beds and other delicate vegetation.
Vegetation such as sea grasses are delicate nursery grounds where many of the fish in our waters originate.
Weeds, grasses and other plant life are not good for your vessel. Ingestion of these into your craft may cause engine or pump problems and reduce performance. Stay away!
When possible, operate a fair distance from the shore because wildlife tends to inhabit the vegetation along the edge of the shore. The best way to avoid disturbing the local ecosystem is to stay in the marked channels and the deeper areas of a lake or river when possible.
Be aware that the noise and movements of all boats may disturb bird populations. Stay clear of posted bird nesting areas.
Many migratory birds are easily stressed and are especially vulnerable during their migration periods. Birds will typically fly away from disturbing noises and any unnecessary expenditure of energy can harm a feeding or resting bird.
Bird rookeries are especially vulnerable to noise from boats. Nesting birds may fly from the nest, exposing unprotected eggs and hatchling to the sun's heat or predators.
Do not chase wildlife or interrupt the feeding, nesting or resting of wildlife - it is illegal and can unduly stress wildlife. Harassment is defined as any action that may cause an animal to deviate from its normal behaviour.
Mammals such as sea otters, sea lions, manatees and whales can be injured from direct impact by boats traveling at high speeds. Ride at controlled speeds so you can see any animals ahead of you. Avoid areas of high animal population. If you strike an animal, report it to your local wildlife commission as there may be a chance to save its life.
Excessive boat wakes may contribute to shoreline erosion, especially in narrow streams and inlets.
Erosion is a concern for all shorelines including rivers, lakes and oceans. The slow destruction of shorelines affects the habitats of plants and animals. When near the shore, avoid high speeds as they create wakes – be sure to observe posted no wake zones!
Wash your boat off after you use it to prevent the spread of exotic plants to other lakes and rivers. Exotics are plants and animals that are non-native to a specific area. Exotics have no natural enemies and spread easily, taking over an area to the exclusion of native species, thus decreasing important plant and animal diversity.
Docking / Beaching
When docking or beaching, look for evidence of turtles, birds, alligators, manatees and other animals along shore.
Avoid docking or beaching where plants such as weeds, grasses and mangroves are located. These plants are essential to the ecosystem because they control erosion and provide a nursery ground for small animals vital to the food chain, such as crustaceans, mollusks and small fish.
Many species of plants and animals are threatened with extinction due to habitat loss. It is illegal to trade, kill, hunt, collect, harass, harm, pursue, shoot, trap, wound or capture species designated as endangered or in danger of extinction, such as threatened, rare and species of concern.
Be aware of the endangered species that are found in your riding area where a safe haven protects them from human development, and they are allowed to survive and flourish.
Mangroves are a distinctive type of tree that have adapted to living in or near saltwater. Many shore birds nest in mangrove forests and islands. Mangroves shelter other marine life, control erosion and filter runoff. They also build up the shoreline and serve as a buffer that protects the land from storms and winds.
Do not operate in unmarked mangrove channels – doing so disturbs mangroves, birds and other animals that reside in these areas.
Coral is a living organism which provides a safe haven for hundreds of marine creatures. This firm yet fragile species is vulnerable to the effects of human intrusion. If you are riding near coral, do not use an anchor and be careful when diving to avoid coming in contact with these delicate organisms.
Marine Plant Life
Kelp forests support a lush underwater community teeming with fish, invertebrates, sea urchins and sea otters. Found close to shore, the kelp canopy covers the surface of the water and extends down (sometimes thousands of feet) to the bottom of the ocean floor. In warm months, this seaweed can grow as much as a foot a day.
Sea grasses are nursery grounds normally found in protected waters called estuaries where fresh water and salt water meet. Most of the world's fish have their beginnings in estuaries and their associated sea grass habitat. Sea grasses are very delicate and their destruction can lead to degradation of the entire marine cycle.
As a responsible vessel operator, stay away from both of these environmentally sensitive areas.
You Can Make a Difference
We all have a duty to the next generation to protect our bountiful natural resources.
Take a moment to learn what the environmental concerns are in your riding area.
If you're interested in observing wildlife while riding, keep an idle speed to reduce wake, noise and turbidity (stirring up the bottom).
Know your riding area for the safety of the environment, for your own protection and for your vessel.
The Personal Watercraft Industry Association is a trade organization dedicated to promoting safe and responsible riding; this includes following safe boating rules and operating to protect the environment from harm due to rider carelessness.
The Personal Watercraft Industry Association provides this information to inform riders how to ride harmoniously with the environment. Refer to pwia.org for further information.
Learn more about BRP’s commitment to Social Responsibility.