Edward KovacsWard Kovacs is a Lieutenant with the Ocean City Beach Patrol in Ocean City, Maryland where he has worked as an ocean lifeguard since 1983. Some of his chief interests during this time have been working on techniques for the care and treatment of patients who have suffered spinal injuries in the surf, supervising the Junior Beach Patrol program, and developing a rescue watercraft program. The area that has seen the most changes over the years has been in the watercraft program. In 1980 the Beach Patrol acquired its first motorized vessels. The town purchased four Zodiac Mark IV Grand Raid inflatable boats, and four 25 horsepower Evinrude outboards. The boats were not put to any regular use, as few guards knew how to operate them. Ward was one of those who enjoyed driving the boats in the surf, and spent hundreds of hours launching, beaching, and riding waves with the boats. Within a few years, Ward designed a three-day training school for lifeguards who were interested in operating the rescue craft. In the early days, the school was largely based on knowledge he gained through his own experiences; both good and bad. With the advent of jet-powered craft in the early 1990’s, the Beach Patrol began to use two rigid hulled Zodiac jet boats that were powered by Yamaha motors. They later moved toward using personal watercraft along with rescue sleds that attach to rear of the vessels. Each advancement in technology has required Ward to make changes in the way rescue craft are deployed and used. The Beach Patrol now uses four Kawasaki 1200 cc Jetskis with rescue sleds. Lt. Kovacs continues to oversee the purchasing and deployment of watercraft, and the training of lifeguards who use them.
Hi I'm Ward Kovacs. I'm the Rescue Boat Instructor for the Ocean City Maryland Beach Patrol. I would like to talk to you in this segment of our video on personal watercraft. Little bit about some things to consider before you actually go and buy a personal watercraft. There are a lot of different options available; lot of different makes; lot of different models. First thing is the size; do you need a personal watercraft for your needs as a one seater, a two seater, or a three seater? This one I have here, happens to be a three seater. We are operating today in a pretty enclosed harbor. I have an option for reverse on this personal watercraft; not all of them have that anymore. That's something to consider. Also, if you are going to have little children that are going to be getting on the back of the personal watercraft, here is this ladder that actually falls down on the back, a one step ladder that falls down. If you are buying to use personal watercraft, try and make sure that you get one that has an automatic kill switch on it. Also, things to consider are, do you want to get a two stroke, or a four stroke, a motor - and those are things to talk over with the different dealers that you are going to be talking to, and get a feel for just what you are going to need. If you are going to be pulling anybody from behind the personal watercraft like a jet skier, or go tubing, you want to make sure that you have rear view mirrors on it as well. Anytime that you are going to purchase a personal watercraft, you want to make sure that you read all the materials that come with it, the rider's handbook, the owner's manual and also take some time to learn the local laws; here in Maryland we have State laws, but there are also Federal laws that apply to operating personal watercraft and get to know all the different laws. And Id really, strongly advise you to take a boating safety course thats available through the Coast Guard Auxiliary and other agency in your area. And in our next segment where we are going to talk about some things that you should pack with you when you are planning to take a trip and some things to take care of before you launch a personal watercraft.