Listing Essential Safety Gear Every Jet Ski Owner Should Have

Before you get on your jet ski and ride away, there maybe a few questions you have. There are also many things that are ignored that could get people hurt.

Let’s state something important, safety is a huge deal for any watersports! Things like, what life jackets do you need? Do you need a whistle? What if you get lost?

This stuff is your jet ski safety equipment, and there are a lot more items you need to consider. So, let’s get right to the point and cover them all below.

1. Life Jacket

Life jackets haning up on the wall at dealership

A life jacket is the most important jet ski safety accessory you can get, even if you’re a strong swimmer.

Wear it before getting on the water, and make sure it’s Coast Guard approved.

Accidents can happen, so it’s vital to have a life jacket on yourself when riding a jet ski.

Click here to see my top picks for life jackets

2. Whistle Or Air horn

Whistle attached to life jacket

Another huge safety item to have when it comes to your jet ski is a whistle or sound device.

I tie a whistle to every life jacket I own, and so should you. Why is that?

Keeping one whistle in the glove box won’t help the passenger or the person you’re pulling on the tube if they fall off.

Air horns can be used instead, but a whistle lasts longer and is more useful in more “situations”.

Check out Emergency Whistles Here. (Amazon Link Ad)

3. SOS Siren & Flashlight

radio and SOS tool

Along with a whistle, I’ve been keeping a hand-cranked SOS siren and flashlight in my Spark.

Air horns wear out and if you’re out of breath, a whistle is difficult to blow. Having a device that has a battery and can be recharged manually is a must for getting someone’s attention while on the water.

Along with them having a built-in flashlight, it just makes sense to carry.

Check out SOS Siren and Hand-Cranked Flashlight. (Amazon Link Ad)

4. Your Phone

Phone on lock screen

Don’t overlook your phone as a safety tool you can use on your jet ski.

It’s great for navigation, especially if you get lost easily.

Preload maps for your area and use GPS to find your way. You can even find phone apps local to your area that give you directions by water!

Other features your phone can be used for:

5. Fire Extinguisher

Sea-Doo Spark under seat fire ext

A functioning fire extinguisher must be on every jet ski by law.

When stopped by authorities, they’ll check for it and may ask you to test it. Failing to have one can result in a ticket.

Dealerships often provide a fire extinguisher, but ensure you have one if they don’t.

Replace fire extinguishers over 12 years old (date stamped) or consider replacing them every 5 to 6 years. Check for recalls on your extinguisher as well.

Check out fire extinguishers here. (Amazon Link Ad)

6. Extra Water

Pointing out the cup holders on Yamaha waverunner

It’s easy to get dehydrated when riding for a long period of time, so carrying an extra water bottle is key.

That sun and heat will make fools of us all, so make sure to stay hydrated when playing. The lake water and ocean water is not safe to drink, and just because you’re getting splashed does not mean you’re staying hydrated.

7. Lanyard

Sea-Doo slow key green

A lanyard is a cord that attaches you to the kill-switch, so when you fall off, the engine will shut off.

It’s vital you have the lanyard attached to you and your jet ski, the engine won’t start if you don’t connect it properly.

Sea-Doo uses their keys as the lanyard, while Yamaha and Kawasaki use a simple plastic clip that pushes up a button and the other end attaches to your wrist.

Check out lanyards here. (Amazon Link Ad)

8. Telescoping Paddle

expanding paddle showing how it works

A telescoping paddle is a vital safety tool that folds neatly into your storage compartment.

When needed, unfold it to paddle back to shore or assist someone struggling in the water. It has multiple uses for emergencies.

Check out Telescoping Paddles here. (Amazon Link Ad)

9. Tow Boating Membership

Not many people know this, but there are services across the world that will tow your boat to where you need it if you break down.

These towing memberships also do more, for example running out of gas in the middle of the lake, they will come to you and bring you gas. Some even offer boat recovery if it sinks.

Keep their number in your glove box, even if you don’t have a membership. They assist everyone but charge more for non-members, which can be a valuable last resort.

Here are the two most popular tow boating memberships, Sea Tow and Tow Boat US.

10. Boater Safety Course

It’s important to note that a boater safety course has become the norm for most states, especially when it comes to jet skis.

For example, in my state of North Carolina, anyone born on or after January 1, 1988, must take the boaters safety course. Some states are moving to require everyone to take the course.

The course is done online and is full of great information that everyone operating a boat should know.

Go here to learn about what you need to do to get your boater safety license:

11. Multi-Tool With Knife

Having a knife has been of the most useful tools to carry. With cutting ropes, fishing lines, and anything else that gets stuck, a knife can get you out of a tight spot.

While a knife is needed, I like carrying a multi-tool that has a knife (Amazon Link Ad).

With a multi-tool you have pliers, screwdrivers and more. They also don’t take up much space.

12. First Aid Kit

medical kit for boats

A first aid kit is a must when it comes to safety gear!

No need to get too “fancy”, a small safety kit (Amazon Link Ad) is all you need.

There have been a few times I’ve cut my foot on a rock or stick before and the first aid kit came in handy.

13. Protective Gear

Department store life jackets lined up

We for sure can’t talk about safety equipment for jet skis without covering the protective gear you must have on.

  1. Water shoes
  2. Rash guard
  3. Neoprene shorts (for both men and women)
  4. Hat
  5. Sunscreen
  6. Sunglasses

Water shoes are essential for slippery boat ramps and sharp rocks and sticks.

A rash guard protects from the sun, reduces life jacket chafing, and keeps you cool.

Neoprene shorts prevent water from entering your body if you fall off.

A hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen protect from the sun.

See what to wear when jet skiing here.

14. Mirrors

Yamaha waverunner with mirrors

It’s important to note that not all jet skis come with mirrors, and some states require them if you do any pull sports.

If yours didn’t come with mirrors, it’s a good safety item to add.

15. Skier Down Flag

A skier down flag is an orange flag you put up when the person you’re pulling falls off. The skier down flag lets others know someone is in the water.

You must use a skier down flag for pull sports to warn others that someone has fallen into the water.

Get skier down flag here. (Amazon Link Ad)

16. Off Shore Riding

If you do any offshore riding, there is certain gear you need to carry.

  1. Marine Radio (Amazon Link Ad)
  2. Compass (Amazon Link Ad)
  3. Electronic Flares (Amazon Link Ad)
  4. SOS distress flag (Amazon Link Ad)
  5. SOS Personal Locator (Amazon Link Ad)
  6. Extra water
  7. Emergency Mylar Blanket (Amazon Link Ad) to keep the sun off you and as a reflective aid to make you more visible.

An interesting tidbit, since jet skis are under 16 feet long, they don’t require the SOS distress flag, but it’s still a good idea to have one, they do require the nighttime distress signals (“electronic flares”).

Extra caution and care must be given if you venture far from the coastline or any large body of water. It’s easy to get lost and confuse yourself with what is the correct direction.



I started working at a power sports dealership in 2007, I worked in parts, service counter, and as a technician before moving to sales in 2013. I created in 2014 to answer common watercraft questions I would get from people. Now managing the site full-time, I continue to provide advice and web tools for my readers about watercraft. I've owned several watercraft, with a Sea-Doo Spark as my current main PWC.

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