What is a Personal Watercraft?
A Personal Watercraft (PWC), also known as a Jet Ski, is a water jet driven craft designed to carry between one and four people. In comparison to speedboats and powercraft they are generally easier to launch, recover and store and the rider enjoys a closer relationship with the water. Propulsion comes from a directionally controlled water jet drive.
The 1 seaters are faster and more sporty.
The advantage of a longer seat for more than one rider is increased stability at both high and low speeds. Boarding the craft from dry-land or in deep water is also easier. However 2 seaters should not be used to tow inflatables, skiers or boarders as there is not enough room for the pilot, spotter and the person being towed.
The 3 or 4 seater should provide enough seating for the whole family. These are more stable and easier to use. They are extremely versatile and still perform well with one person on board. You should take into consideration that these larger craft are heavy and are more difficult to launch and retrieve.
Do I need insurance?
Although there is currently no Act of Parliament requiring a PWC/Jet Ski rider to have insurance local bye-laws may require otherwise. Most launch sites will ask for Third Party Liability Insurance.
Third Party Liability Insurance - This will cover you if you cause damage to another PWC/Jet Ski or anyone else's property or if you cause injury to another person.
Comprehensive Insurance - This will cover your PWC/Jet Ski for accidental damage, theft, fire and vandalism, plus third party liability risks.
How do I choose which company and which policy to buy?
There are many companies offering PWC/Jet Ski insurance. Some have expert knowledge and specific PWC/Jet Ski policies, others include the PWC/Jet Ski within the general boat policies. You should check the extent of the cover to ensure that you meet all the companies requirements and they meet yours. You could end up uninsured if you do not comply with the conditions properly.
Here are some things to look out for:
Policy Excess - You will be required to pay the first amount of any claim. Check the amount.
With GJW Direct our standard excess is as follows:
Material damage and liability £150.00 - Theft, including total loss, from within a locked building £250.00.
Theft elsewhere, including total loss, the greater of 15% of the sum insured or £350.00.
PWC/Jet Ski riders - Find out who is insured to use the PWC/Jet Ski.
Some companies restrict the age limit to 16 others to 21. Some companies require that all riders are experienced or have RYA PWC qualifications or riders may have to be named on the policy.
With GJW Direct, experienced and inexperienced riders and helmsmen are allowed to drive and/or helm the PWC/Jet Ski subject to full details and our agreement. All riders and helmsmen must be 16 years of age or over or riders and helmsmen aged 14 or 15 must be accompanied by an adult over 25 years of age who has at least one year's experience riding and/or helming such a craft and/or has the RYA training certificate for attendance and passed satisfactorily the examination for PWC/Jet Ski.
Theft - All policies will require you to secure the PWC/Jet Ski. You may have to keep it in a locked building at all times and cover may only be applicable following forcible entry into a building. Some companies require the seat/hood to be stored in a separate locked building. If not in a locked building you might need to have an anti theft device on the craft when left on the trailer in addition to a trailer immobiliser.
With GJW Direct the PWC/Jet Ski must not at any time be left unattended whilst afloat. When it is not in use on the water it must be attended or securely locked to a road vehicle and the road vehicle must be occupied or securely locked. Otherwise it must be secured by a ball hitch lock or a wheel clamp or in a locked place of storage.
Hitchlocks - These are not always accepted as an anti theft device.
GJW Direct do accept ball hitch locks which are sold and marketed as such.
Data Tag - Some companies require that the PWC/Jet Ski has a Data Tag identification system and is registered with the Data Tag Central Register.
GJW Direct do not require a Data Tag but we do offer more favourable premiums if a Data Tag is used.
Towing - Most policies can be extended to cover towing waterskiers but you may need an extension to cover other towed items e.g. kneeboards and other inflatable toys.
GJW Direct can extend the policy to cover all of the above.
No claims bonus - Many companies offer this but the discounts differ.
GJW Direct offer a no claims bonus up to 25%.
Transit - Make sure your policy includes transit by road when you are towing the PWC/Jet Ski on a trailer.
GJW Direct automatically cover the PWC/Jet Ski whilst in transit but do not cover any liability which should be covered by your motor insurers.
Can I use the Personal Watercraft on holiday?
The cruising area will be defined in the policy or on the Certificate but this will depend on the policy you have chosen. If you wish to go further afield contact your insurers to establish whether cover can be extended. You may need to pay an additional premium.
GJW Direct cover the PWC/Jet Ski in UK waters and European Continental waters up to 30 days in total in any Period of Insurance.
Where can I launch the Personal Watercraft?
There are lots of commercial hire and launch sites and numerous slipways around the coast from which you can launch. Local harbour offices and councils are the best source of information for coastal sites.
Make sure you contact them before you leave home. Check opening times, their facilities, the documents you need to produce and their costs.
I'm new to Jet Skiing and want some training, where do I go?
You can take the RYA Personal Watercraft Proficiency training course, call RYA Training 02380 627400 and they will be able to help you.
Subject to the terms and conditions of the GJW Direct Personal Watercraft Insurance Policy.