Handy Hints for Teaching PWC (jetskiing):

Coming alongside:

The key to teaching any manoeuvere: 


Consider P.A.M.E. –


  • Plan – How you are going to get there safely
  • Approach – What angle you should take, considering the wind/tide effects
  • Manouvere – What speed and other considerations you need to make
  • Escape – Always have an escape route! 

Also consider S.L.O.W. 

  • Speed of approach
  • Lookout for hazards and obstructions
  • Observe what the wind / tide are doing
  • Watch out for other vessels

Syllabus states – ‘Can – Come alongside another craft, pontoon or floating dock’


Why? Setting up a tow, refueling, marina operations


Fundamentals: Always demonstrate first, introduce the manoeuvere later in the day, once your student has had plenty of practice and in particular understands stopping distances and can pick up a MOB. Get your student to practice coming alongside a buoy first. Once they have mastered this, then move them on to coming alongside a pontoon, craft or floating dock. During your demonstration and your briefing you must emphasise the importance of:

• Using Neutral and reverse to control speed (if they have it, otherwise to turn the engine on and off to maintain a slow speed).

• Angle of approach – this will depend on the strength of the elements (wind/tide) but be aware that if the turn is too sharp, the stern of the PW will continue to swing into the pontoon even once the engine is turned off.

• Effect of wind/tide – use these elements to help slow you down.

• Aim to stop the PW within 2-3 foot (reaching distance) from the pontoon rather than directly alongside it, this will minimize the possibility of knocking it and will allow enough space for an escape route.

Departing: (an often forgotten aspect of this session!)

Reverse slowly and at a gentle angle away from the dock/ craft. If you the PWC does not have reverse then a firm push away will suffice.

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