Jet Ski Safety at the New Jersey Shore

Jet skiers from around the state and around the country have pointed to south Jersey for some of the best spots to ride. Let us know where YOUR favorite spot is, so we can share the info with other riders.

Riders seem to really like Brigantine, just outside of Atlantic City, for good sized waves (anywhere from three to six feet) lots of twisting waterways to explore. The inlet side of Brigantine offers miles of waterways and is just a few minutes ride out to the ocean for serious wave jumping. You may spot dolphins leaping through the waves while you ride!

Wildwood is another popular spot for jet skiing. Take Pacific Avenue all the way into Wildwood Crest. Just over the bridge you will see a marina located on the inlet between the ocean and the back bay. The inlet itself will have good waves — especially during tide changes. Entering the ocean can be a little rough, but once you’re out there, you’ll have a blast. Head left to cruise the shores of Wildwood; turn right and check out Cape May. Beware of swimmers when you’re riding out in the Atlantic.

A bit farther north is another popular spot for riding: Barnegat Bay. The channel is full of challenging sandbars that come up at low tide. The bay itself has low waves (only one to two feet high) until you head out of the inlet and into the ocean. Just past the inlet mouth, you’ll find much higher waves; just stay away from the breakers near the beach, which are used by swimmers. The bay is for novice riders; the ocean is for experienced riders.

Safety Tips

  1. Wear a life jacket! An approved personal flotation device is required by law for every person on a jet ski.
  2. Bring a whistle or other sound signaling device; a tow rope; and flares in a watertight container if you’ll be on a large body of water.
  3. If you plan to do any serious wave jumping, wear a helmet. A mountain bike helmet or motocross helmet will work. A fiberglass jet ski falling on your head can do a lot of damage.
  4. Goggles can help protect your eyes from salt water spray.
  5. Gloves can help protect your hands, but gloves that are too thick can cause finger cramps.
  6. Don’t ever drink alcohol while operating a personal watercraft.
  7. Practice operating your jet ski in open water under supervision. Read the manufacturers manual so you know how to properly operate your vehicle.
  8. Check the weather forecast before you go out. Know when high and low tide will be.
  9. Don’t jet ski alone in the open sea. Bring a buddy with you.
  10. Know how to swim!
  11. Shut off the engine before cleaning debris away from the pump intake.
  12. If your jet ski should turn over, there should be a sticker on the bottom to remind you which way to roll it back over. Rolling the wrong way can let water into the engine.
  13. Watch for boats and other watercraft at all times.
  14. Wake jumping and riding too close are two common complaints boaters have about jet skis. Be considerate of other watercraft!
  15. Share waterways responsibly.

Other Useful Tips

  1. Don’t beach your jet ski. This is bad for the impeller and cooling system.
  2. If you’re going to take a break, anchor your jet ski in about four feet of water.
  3. Be careful around floating debris like seaweed.
  4. Riding standing up can help prevent sore bottoms and help you feel more in control when riding in heavy chop.
  5. Don’t ride too close to the shoreline where swimmers are in the water. Some beaches actually issue tickets for this!
  6. Wave height and jet ski speed determine how much air you’ll get when wave jumping. Practice on small waves to get the feel of your jet ski leaving the water and landing. Ride straight up the face of the wave. Try not to land nose-first.
  7. Know the approximate depth of the water where you are jumping, and make sure it is at least six feet deep. You can hit the ocean floor in water that is too shallow, damaging your jet ski.