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.
Slow down to let the watercraft on your right continue its course, then pass behind it.
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!
STAY INFORMED ABOUT GOVERNMENTAL ACTION AND PREVENT UNWISE RESTRICTIONS
In the United States and Canada, the political process remains open, and legislative and regulatory actions are almost always taken by officials after public debate.
This system presents an opportunity and a responsibility to all. Because the process is open to public monitoring, citizens have a chance to speak out against misguided legislation or regulation. Indeed, many feel it is their responsibility to do so. So that you will not be surprised by anti-watercraft measures, take the following steps to remain informed about the process in your area:
- Call city hall and the county public information offices to obtain a summary of measures under consideration on the local level. In most cases, you can specify the issue or issues in which you are interested (such as proposals that would affect watercraft).
- Write a letter to the mayor, city manager, your city council member, and your county commissioner (who represents the district you live in). Ask them to keep you informed on any debate or proposals. Remember that they work for you, and it is their job to keep you informed.
- Write a personal letter or call your representative in the legislature. In most states, the clerk of the House and the clerk of the Senate can be reached at a public information number at the state capitol. In some states, information for both houses is available through one central office. Those offices can provide all the information you need about contacting individual legislators.
- Ask your legislators if there are any restrictions being debated or proposed. (Ask for a copy of the bill if one has been submitted.)
- Ask your legislators which agencies have regulatory authority for waterways. Call those agencies to determine if they might propose restrictions, and get on their mailing list.
- Identify who the other key legislators are on the issue. Who is the chairman of the committee (in both houses of the legislature) that would have jurisdiction over watercraft legislation?
- Ask your legislator to keep you informed on any debate or proposals that would affect watercraft and boats.
Again, remember that your representative works for you.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call the Sea-Doo Hotline at 1-800-533-9138 for assistance if your calls for information to the state capitol are unsuccessful and you need help in identifying your representatives or the other key legislators, determining if legislation has been proposed or hearings scheduled, or help in writing a letter. You can also fax information such as newspaper clippings to the hotline staff at 1-407-722-4001.
If legislation is in the works:
- If you do become aware of debate or proposals, get the details. Call or visit your representatives and ask questions. Ask for a summary of any proposals in writing.
- As soon as you become aware of restricting debate or proposals, email email@example.com, call the Sea-Doo Hotline at 1-800-533-9138, or fax the information to 1-407-722-4001.
- Make your views known. Once you have the details, express your opinion in person, if possible, by telephone and in writing.
- Attend any hearings scheduled on the issue to speak out against anti-watercraft legislation.
- Determine the schedule for hearings by calling your legislator or the public information office at the state capitol.
- Contact the office of the legislator chairing the hearings and ask to be put on the list of scheduled speakers.
- Prepare your comments in advance, have them typed, and be ready to distribute copies at the hearing.
- When testifying at the hearing, thank the legislators for the opportunity to make your views known, and state your position on the issue in a clear and concise manner. Be prepared to answer questions, and do not be confrontational or react defensively.
- Consider joining the American Watercraft Association (www.awa.org)
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call the Sea-Doo Hotline at 1-800-533-9138 for guidance on the steps to follow.