HIT THE WAVES
In this new era of staycations and social distancing, there has been a heightened interest in outdoor recreational activities, especially with water sports and watercraft. More and more people are discovering motorised 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. Here are five recommendations 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 favourite river spot, or riding in the open ocean. Every country has its own rules and regulations regarding licensing and proper age to operate a watercraft. Know the local rules and regulations before you venture into it.
2. Have a good understanding of your watercraft
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. It is good to 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. 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, 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 water sports 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 their unforgettable time on the waves.