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Personal Watercraft (PWC)

Personal Watercraft (PWC) Personal Watercraft (PWC) Wave Runners, Jet Skis, Sea Doos, Tigersharks---Personal Watercraft or PWC, go by many names, and they all mean fun. They are found at most waterways these days. In 2004, there were over 150,000 PWC registered in California! PWC are fast, powerful, and fairly easy to operate, but they are also involved in many boating accidents and injuries. With their ever-increasing popularity it is important for all PWC users to know how to operate them safely and with courtesy at all times.

The California Division of Boating and Waterways keeps statistics on boating accidents that are available online at www.dbw.ca.gov. These statistics paint a picture of PWC use and misuse. For example, PWC account for 18% of registered vessels, but 25% of all boating accidents in 2004 involved PWC. Of those PWC accidents, the majority (70%) involved a collision with another vessel. There are three main causes of PWC accidents: inexperience (58%), operating at excessive speed (55%), and inattention on the part of the operator (42%). Numbers in parentheses represent percentages of accidents from each cause. Finally, there are two statistics that show a real need for public education on the proper, safe and fun use of PWC; over half of PWC accidents (55%) involved people who had borrowed a vessel and another 21% had rented their equipment. These accidents might not have occurred if the operators had taken the time to read the owner's manual and safety literature that most dealers provide after a sale, or taken a safe boating course.

You have made the right decision by taking this course! PWC offer the operator an exhilarating sport. You'll have fun on your PWC if you treat it like any other boat---with skill and respect. This course will tell you how to operate your PWC safely, prevent accidents, be aware of hazards, and use courtesy and good judgment so you can enjoy your PWC to the fullest.

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