The summer of 2018 was arguably a late arrival to the Mediterranean. Whilst those of us who live and work here, the delay was almost welcome, and we had longer to prepare for the basking heat of July and August. It’s been said that the late arrival of summer will inevitably lead to the high temperatures staying with us well into October? That will serve many in the nautical community very well as, with the weather so idyllic in northern Europe, it has delayed many a trip to the Balearics and some charter companies and tourist service providers have been concerned about the quiet.
The summer can stay as long as it likes, and we welcome many a beginner to the fun of water sports, sailing and powerboating. It’s the summer months, and the short courses available, that are attractive to the guests who have a limited amount of time to enjoy the water.
The RYA provides the one-day course for learning to use Personal Watercraft (PW). Firstly, let’s just clarify the Personal Watercraft bit; the term refers to jet skis and jet bikes. ‘Jet ski’ is actually a name created by Kawasaki and has been adopted as a generic name (think Hoover for vacuum). So, the one-day course for the ‘jet ski’ achieves, and this is the official name, a Personal Watercraft Proficiency certificate. This certificate allows the certificate holder to ride a PW taking care to adhere to local rules and regulations.
Local regulations vary throughout the Mediterranean and penalties can be steep. France keeps a close eye on it’s coastline and no PW can ride within 300 meters of the shore; the rider must carry a light on the buoyancy aid, regardless of day or night usage (this is a new law and only came into force this summer). There is also a strict list of what to carry that includes an anchor, bailer/hand pump/bucket, and a tow line are considered the minimum. In Greece, PWs must not be ridden between the hours of 13:30 and 18:00 in built up areas. The Italians insist on a distance of at least 500 metres from the shore and riders must wear a helmet. In Montenegro the helmet regulation is also in place and individual riders must be over the age of 18 whereas in Spain a 16-year old can ride a PW (with written consent of parent/guardian). Spain also appears a little more relaxed and insists on just a 200m clearance from shore and 100m from any other vessel before exceeding 5 knots. In the Balearics you must carry a method of communication with you when riding (mobile phone or VHF handheld radio) and don’t be tempted to drop off or pick up on a beach, that’s a big no no.
There are many training providers of the one-day Proficiency course and courses run regularly to meet the demands of the high season. The Capitan of Palma isn’t keen for use in the commercial harbour so you’ll find training bases dotted around the coastline: Cala Nova has a great set-up as does Puerto Portals and we highly recommend Port Adriano as a training base.
It’s great fun to get a group of you together for the course and a group size is a maximum of six persons, using three PWs so two persons sharing. The RYA sets the maximum amount of PWs as three, hence the two persons sharing. The instructor will train from either an individual PW or a support vessel like a powerboat.
If you fancy enjoying this fast and exhilarating sport then please do get in touch. The course does take a full day and safety is paramount. You will wear a personal buoyancy aid and be thoroughly trained in the use of the kill cord. Safety first.