Skip to main content

Personal watercraft (PWC)

Seize those grips and feel the rush of the spray and the wind, as we jet off on a breathtaking adventure.
Plan a session with this activity

What to expect

Personal watercraft (PWC), also known as Jet Skis, are shallow-draft, highly manoeuvrable, water-jet-propelled, aquatic craft. On this adventure, everyone will have the opportunity to learn how to steer and control their personal watercraft and navigate on the water. This activity is a thrill-ride, but don’t forget to relax, enjoy the surroundings and the journey on the water. Expect to get wet, even if you don’t fall in! It’s likely that some of your group will be able to have a go while others wait. Sometimes tandem Jet Skis are available too.

What you’ll learn

Personal watercraft activities are about discovering new surroundings on the water and enjoying the experience of moving quickly, turning sharply and bouncing over the waves.

Steering and manoeuvring a Jet Ski takes good hand-eye coordination and will usually require some practice to do it well. Try looking at a fixed point in the distance, if you need help to keep it straight. Jet Skis can feel scarily powerful when you first begin. Take time to get comfortable and understand how your movements affect the movement of the craft. This will help you develop skills for other kinds of powered watercraft.

For many, riding a Jet Ski will be a new experience. Just as with trying anything else new, everyone should support each other and celebrate where people have the courage to try something new or face their fears.

Fun facts

  • The world record for the fastest speed recorded on a PWC or Jet Ski is 84.02mph, held by Alan Pickard, who achieved the record on Coniston Water in the Lake District.
  • The first Jet Ski was produced in 1973 by the Japanese company Kawasaki, who to this day own the trademark on the name ‘Jet Ski’.

Handy hints

  • Dress for the occasion. Centres may need you to bring specific things with you, such as certain types of clothing or shoes. Always double check this before heading out on the adventure, and make sure everyone knows what they’ll need to bring along in advance.
  • Grab some extra hair bobbles. People with long hair will probably need to tie it back. Take a few extra hair ties, just in case anyone forgets.
  • Prepare entertainment. Prepare something to keep everyone entertained when it isn’t their turn on the water.
  • Capture the moment. If allowed, have someone ready on land with a camera to capture the day, so that everyone will remember the experience. Be sure to only photograph those who are comfortable having and allowed to have their picture taken.
  • Protect your skin. The sea, wind and sun can take their toll on your skin, so remind everyone to bring and use sun cream. Remember that it needs to be waterproof cream, otherwise it won’t do the job when you take to the waves!
  • Swishing and swaying. Some people suffer from motion sickness when doing activities like this. Make sure you have everything with you to cope with this and have conversations with people to see how they can manage it, if they need to.

We’re reworking our safety guidance for adventurous activities to make it easier to understand and follow.

In the meantime, before you try personal watercraft, review the safety information here.

Reflection

PWC (Jet Ski) activities gave you the opportunity to navigate on the water, while maintaining control of a speedy watercraft. How did this differ from how you might navigate on land, or whilst on wind-propelled craft like sailboats, and why? Think about the different rules for activities on the water and the different shapes and sizes of bodies of water in the UK. Where might PWC be better suited than sailboats or narrowboats, and where might they be less well suited?

What new skills did you learn while enjoying this thrill-ride? Think about other activities, on sea and on land, that might require you to use the same skills and reflexes as a PWC does.

Safety

All activities must be safely managed. Do a risk assessment and take appropriate steps to reduce risk. Always get approval for the activity and have suitable supervision and an InTouch process.