Or, what could be less fun? The noise is deafening. Make
it stop. You duck your head under to water so you won’t
have to hear it, but the vibration is still there, and the
water tastes like gasoline.
Jet skiing is a popular Hawai‘i sport—with those
who do it. For those whose senses are assaulted by the noise,
the fumes, and the taste of oil in the water, jet skiing
is another matter.
The jet ski, which is also commonly known as personal watercraft
(PWC), is a popular water sport in Hawai‘i. It’s
certainly popular among some HPU students. Wei Teck Lee,
a TIM student at HPU, says he enjoys jet skiing a lot, and
that he already went a couple of times back home in Malaysia.
According to the Hawai‘i Water Sports Center, in Hawai‘i
Kai, the best customers for rental jet skis are tourists.
Local residents who enjoy this sport usually own their own
Every state has different regulations regarding the minimum
age, boating education, and licenses. According to the
American Sailing Association, there are no mandatory boating
requirements in Hawai‘i. However, to operate a jet
ski, one must be at least 15 years of age.
The equipment requirements for PWC, according to the Hawai‘i
Department of Land and Natural Resources, are a U.S. Coast
Guard-approved personal flotation device for each person.
Furthermore, an engine cutoff lanyard must be functional
and attached to the rider. Every jet ski has to be equipped
with a whistle or horn and a B-1 type fire extinguisher.
Also, every jet ski must carry its registration on board.
There are further specific regulations in Hawai‘i,
such as designated and nondesignated Ocean Recreation Management
Areas (ORMA). According to the Hawai‘i Department of
Land and Natural Resources, a designated ORMA includes all
ocean waters and navigable streams extending from the low
water mark to 3,000 feet seaward. In these ORMAs, all recreation
activities are assigned specific areas where they may be
conducted. Nondesignated ORMAs are open to any recreation
activity. Around the islands of O‘ahu and the Big Island,
PWC are permitted in both nondesignated and designated ORMAs.
Around Mau‘i and Kaua‘i, PWC are permitted only
in nondesignated ORMAs and around Moloka‘i and Lana‘i,
PWC are prohibited, according to the Hawai‘i Department
of Land and Natural Resources.
Hawai‘i is the only state in the nation that has changed
the jet ski classification, which is actually a registered
trademark of Kawasaki, to “Thrill Craft” because
of operator and environmental concerns from the State Boating
Law Administration, says Shawn Alladio on surfpulse.com.
The usefulness and purpose of personal watercraft is a controversial
issue statewide. For some people, jet skiing is a recreational
water sport. In Hawai‘i, PWC are also used by lifeguards
in strong currents to rescue swimmers. Also, professional
surfers are often towed into the big waves by jet skis.
However, there are people who argue about the hazards personal
watercraft cause—both human and ecological. Jet ski
engines are noisy and pollute the air and water by releasing
oil and exhaust. A two-hour ride dumps about 2.5 gallons
of gas and oil into the water and produces noise levels between
85 and 105 decibels, according to Making Waves, a publication
of the Surfrider Foundation.
According to the Hawai‘i Water Sports Center, residents
have not complained about noise, probably because jet skis
in their area are operated only in designated ORMAs.
Jet skis can also be dangerous for humans. “The scary
thing about them is the fact that they have no brake,” Lee
said. To avoid a crash, one has to maneuver around objects
at high speeds. This risks flipping and capsizing as well
In its Hawai‘i edition of Straight Talk, Yamaha Motor
Corporation explains that PWC manufacturers spend millions
of dollars annually to create engines that are cleaner, quieter,
and more fuel efficient. Regardless of their success or lack
of it, the industry is booming. Jet skis are the fastest
selling watercraft in the United States with about 200,000
watercraft sold annually.