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To those who have never been on a Jet Ski and may be interested in trying this fun sport with a rental at the beach while in Key West, here are a few things to consider.

I spent the winters of my youth on snowmobiles and have rented Jet Skis at the beach just like you will.  I can give a few tips, since I am from Minnesota, literally the land of lakes with more shoreline here than on both ocean coasts combined… The water of Minnesota is fresh and cold, but boating is mostly the same. Here I will offer a few tips, for fun and for safety.

There are easy stunts that you can do in the water much easier than the stunts I once did on land with my late grandpa’s “Scorpion Lil-Whip” short-track 290cc snowmobile.  Jumping over a wave is super easy and has a much softer landing than the old bogey wheel tunnel systems on the snow sleds; all you need to do on a Jet Ski is keep your throttle at a constant speed. Landing is soft and easy.

When you turn a corner on a snowmobile, the front skis bite into the snow with carbon rods that send the snowmobile towards your turn – on a  Jet Ski, there really aren’t any directional skis. The term “jet ski” was given to an older model which you stood on literally like one slalom ski, with extensible handlebars that were tall enough for you to hold while standing. Modern jet skis are made just like snowmobiles for you to comfortably sit on. Without the skis found on a snowmobile, you might wonder how a jet ski can turn so easily while there isn’t even a rudder blade underneath as with older boats of the inboard fixed-prop style… Here’s an important tip: A Jet Ski can only be turned while the throttle is active, because the jet of water coming from the engine is the only propulsion… The jet pivots from side to side following the direction of the steering column. When you release the throttle, the boat can only move in the direction it was moving when you stopped the thrust… usually forward, or sometimes forward with a spin to one side… which is another intentional trick you might try.

On a snowmobile, I was able to lean into the turn and slide the snowmobile sideways (dangerous); but on a Jet Ski, you don’t need to lean as much and to slide and even spin the boat, all you need to do is throttle fast into a tight corner and release the throttle leaving the boat without propulsion.. The momentum maintains the motion of the boat, and after the boat is going directly backwards in the spin, you can throttle again and pop the front of the jet-ski upwards almost like bunny-hop on a bicycle.

These are fun things to try, but remember to wear your safety gear and to play at a safe distance from other people with a riding buddy on another Jet Ski so you don’t get yourself into trouble.

About the Author

Landon Russell is a webmaster, freelance writer, outdoor enthusiast and avid traveler.

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