Personal watercraft (commonly called jet skis) are a popular way of exploring and enjoying Victoria’s many beautiful waterways.

But it’s important that jet ski riders drive safely while having fun on the water.

Most riders do the right thing, but some don’t follow the speed and distance rules all boaters must meet for their safety and the safety of others.

Although only a small number of reported incidents involve jet skis, riders who breach rules are both a potential safety risk and a nuisance for other waterway users.

Safe Transport Victoria’s summer behaviour change program, Cool your jets, reminds jet ski riders they must slow down to 5 knots when within 50 metres of other vessels and swimmers.

A 5 knots speed limit also exists close to the shoreline with rules for different types of waterways. On coastal and enclosed waters the speed limit applies within 200 metres of the shore, on bayside beaches at the southern end of the Mornington Peninsula it’s 500 metres, and on most inland waters it’s 50 metres.

Boaters and jet skiers must know all the rules that apply to the waters they’re on. Grab a copy of the boating safety handbook for more details.

Cool your jets will run until the end of summer and will reach riders through a series of videos, social media posts, and water-side activation events.

This program will also have a compliance focus with joint compliance operations with other agencies throughout the summer.

Jet skis must follow the speed and distance regulations that apply to all powered vessels.

Some general safety tips for jet ski riders include:

  • Carry your marine licence with PWC endorsement
  • Wear a lifejacket and attach the engine kill switch to the lifejacket – if you fall off it will cut the engine and allow you to get back on board
  • Maintain a proper lookout at all times and travel at a safe speed
  • Carry a waterproof buoyant torch
  • Carry an EPIRB if you’re going more than 2 nautical miles off-shore
  • Respect the rules, others, wildlife, and environment
  • Carry a phone and personal locator beacon (PLB) so you can call for help, wear protective clothing and let someone know before you go.

Read more advice for jet skis (personal watercraft) safety.