A Beginner’s Guide to Jet Skiing

Ricci Melendez
3 min readOct 20, 2023


Jet skiing has gained popularity in recent years, attracting adventure enthusiasts and water lovers alike. Whether you’re a beginner or have some experience in jet skiing, there’s always room for improvement. Understanding the fundamentals and learning the correct technique can significantly impact your ability to maneuver a jet ski effectively and safely.

Jet skis are the ultimate thrill machines for water enthusiasts. These personal watercraft (PWC) offer an exhilarating experience on the open water, combining speed, agility, and fun. Jet skis are compact, motorized watercraft you can ride standing up or sitting down. They are powered by an inboard motor and propelled by a jet of water expelled from the back, which allows them to reach high speeds.

There are two distinct categories of jet ski styles: stand-ups and sit-downs. Stand-up jet skis are the classic and more challenging option. They require balance, agility, and physical endurance. Using your legs to steer and absorb shock waves from the water improves the control of your jet ski. On the other hand, sit-down jet skis offer a more stable and comfortable ride, making them appropriate for beginners or those who prefer a more relaxed experience. Whichever style you choose, the basic skills and techniques are similar.

When you first get on a jet ski, familiarize yourself with the controls, which vary by jet ski. Know where the throttle is and how to turn off the engine. Attach the emergency shutdown lanyard to yourself in case you fall. Avoid sudden jerks or excessive throttle to prevent losing control. Controlling the throttle is essential to maintaining speed and maneuverability. Keep your finger on the throttle and gradually increase or decrease the speed as needed. Start with gentle acceleration and gradually build speed. Smooth and controlled movements are essential for a safe ride.

Shift your weight in the desired direction to make turns on a jet ski. Use the handlebars to initiate the movement while maintaining balance. Practice turning in both directions to become comfortable with the maneuvers.

Riding wakes (the waves created by boats) adds a new dimension to your jet skiing experience. When approaching a wake, keep a steady speed and maintain control. As you hit the wake, lift your body slightly to absorb the impact and allow the jet ski to glide smoothly over the wave. It’s important to stay alert and adjust your speed accordingly to ensure a safe ride.

Even seasoned riders occasionally fall from a jet ski into the water, so knowing how to handle falls is essential. If you are in the water after falling, remain calm. Climbing back onto a jet ski is a straightforward process. Swim to the back (stern) of the jet ski for reboarding, being careful to avoid the sides and prevent flipping. Then, grab the handles on the back of the seat and lift yourself onto the boarding platform. Finally, move to the seat and reattach the safety lanyard.

Prioritize safety when riding with others. Ensure your jet ski is designed to accommodate passengers and has the necessary seating. Before starting, clearly instruct your passengers on safety guidelines. Avoid sudden maneuvers and maintain a steady speed to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable experience.

Finally, be aware of surrounding conditions and people. While jet skiing is a lot of fun, it’s important to remember that it’s also a potentially risky water sport if you’re not careful. Keep an eye out for other vessels, jet skiers, and swimmers at all times. Water safety and fun depend on knowing and following the rules. It’s not enough to focus on what you’re doing in the water; you must also watch out for other people. Knowing your environment and others can help you have a pleasant and safe day on the water.



Ricci Melendez

New Jersey entrepreneur Ricci Melendez delivers a host of enterprise-level technology solutions as head of SMDR Associates.