Watersports safety

Sea kayaking safety

Before beginning sea kayaking, you should take a training course to learn the basics.

Once you've completed your training, you can make your trips safer by following these guidelines:

Weather

  • only go out in conditions that are suitable to your level of experience and skills
  • get a weather forecast and tidal information for the time you intend to be out
  • keep a reference point on the shore to check how your position is being affected by wind or tide drift
  • visit the Jersey Meteorological Department website or call +44 (0) 900 669 6666 for a six day forecast

Other people

  • never paddle alone
  • log a traffic report with the coastguard and tell someone on shore your intended destination and expected time of return

Clothing

  • always wear an approved buoyancy aid
  • wear appropriate clothing to prevent becoming too cold or too hot. It’s always cooler once on the water
  • pack some extra clothing in a waterproof bag if you're going out for longer periods
  • if paddling near caves or in surf, wear a safety helmet

Equipment

  • take some means of attracting attention, eg flares
  • use a paddle leash (cord or bungee) to prevent loss of your paddle in the event of a capsize
  • fit airbags into your boat to provide reserve buoyancy
  • take a drink with you on all trips and possibly some food for longer trips
  • take a VHF or mobile phone in a waterproof case or bag

Register your craft

Download seasonal advice for kayakers and canoeists (size 115kb)

Surfing safety

Surfing Great Britain, a designated National Governing Body for surfing in the UK offers a series of web episodes covering the following topics:

  • equipment
  • ability
  • training
  • paddling
  • rips
  • safety
  • helpful tips

Surfing Great Britain website

Download seasonal advice for surfers (size 161kb)

Jet-ski safety

As a personal watercraft user, you have a responsibility towards yourself, your passengers (if carried) and to other water users.

Registration and insurance

You must register your jet-ski at the Marine Leisure Centre before you can use it. You must also insure your jet-ski before use as well.

Before going out on a jet-ski

Before you go out on your jet-ski, you should do the following:

  • check the weather forecast
  • check on local conditions, eg tide times, rocks, piers
  • tell someone ashore where and when you are going and when you will be returning
  • log a traffic report with Jersey Coastguard on +44(0)1534 447 705 if you are making a passage or intend to be out for a long time​
  • check the condition of your craft and that the power unit has been well maintained
  • park your vehicle and trailer with care and consideration. Do not obstruct access for other users / the emergency services

Clothing and equipment

You should wear the following items when out on your jet-ski:

  • a buoyancy aid
  • a wetsuit / a dry suit
  • gloves
  • goggles
  • protective footwear

You should ensure the engine kill cord is fitted and connected to the craft and yourself. Always carry a spare.

Rules and regulations

  • check information notices at access points and observe the local bye-laws
  • where applicable, use buoyed channels and designated zones
  • observe local speed limits
  • when fuelling, take care to ensure that fuel and oil are not released into the environment. Pollution of beaches, banks and the water from oil and rubbish is an offence
  • don't disturb wildlife, as it may be vulnerable if it is disturbed. You should be aware of any sensitive areas and keep well clear of them

Other people

  • if possible, go out with other people so you're better able to cope with any problems
  • keep a look out for other craft and keep clear of any other restricted areas, eg bathers, water skiers, surfers
  • be considerate to others and make sure that engine noise is kept to minimum
  • remember that serious accidents can occur as a result of small children playing with the controls of a personal watercraft 

Speed limits

A 5 knot speed limit applies in the following areas:

  • within 200 yards of any shore line, harbour and pier
  • any waters of St Aubin’s Bay that lie generally to the west of a line that is drawn from the south end of La Haule Slip straight to Platte Rock beacon (being the beacon at Platte Rock which lies north-east of Grosse Rock) and from there straight to Point de Bût
  • any waters of Bouley Bay that lie to the southern side of the shortest line drawn between Vicard Point and La Tour de Rozel
  • any waters of St Brelade’s Bay that lie to the northern side of the shortest line drawn between Grosse Tête and La Cotte Point

Training and courses

You can do the following to ensure that you are as safe as possible when using your jet-ski:

  • get some training. For information on where training is available in your locality and how to join a recognised club, contact the Royal Yachting Association (RYA)
  • personal watercraft users should be able to swim and should also be happy when in the water with a buoyancy aid on
  • familiarise yourself with your craft. Learn how to operate it safely and with consideration to others ashore and afloat
  • consult the operator’s manual provided by the manufacturers, particularly with regard to the maintenance of the power unit
  • before allowing a friend to use your craft, make sure they know how to use it properly
  • know your limitations

Download seasonal advice for jet-skier​s (size 153kb)