Jet skis and other personal watercraft can be a lot of fun on Rhode Island waterways. Because they are on the water, many people do not realize just how dangerous they can be. Every year, there are severe injuries and deaths caused by jet skis. It is a serious hazard. According to Fox News, there is a push by those advocating safety on watercraft for people to be required to have a licensed to operate them and for minimum operator age restrictions. In addition, this group wants safety education to become more of a priority.
Treating jet skis and other similar watercraft like boats and motor vehicles could be the key to saving lives and preventing water disasters. However, in many states, there are no laws at all regarding the operation of jet skis. In some places, anyone over 16 can rent a jet ski and only have to sit through a quick safety lesson before hitting the water. On private property, there is even less restriction because most laws do not extend to private waterways.
In Rhode Island, according to the Department of Environmental Management, anyone operating a jet ski on public waters must be certified. There is no age limit for this requirement, so everyone must hold certification. To get certified, a person needs to attend a classroom safety course approved by the state. People may also take a home course, but this still requires an in-person exam with a certified instructor. Courses must include at least eight hours of instruction with an instructor is state certified.