Boating – Gas vs Steering Your Personal Water Craft

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 16,327
    Lieutenant Ward Kovacs from the Ocean City Beach Patrol discusses Gas vs Steering Your Personal Water Craft.

    Edward Kovacs

    Ward 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 am Mort Kovacs, and I am the Rescue Boat Instructor for the Ocean City Maryland Beach Patrol. In this segment of our video on personal watercraft I am going to talk about one of the important differences in operating a boat or personal watercraft from operating a car. In personal watercraft, you will see where the steering nozzle in the back of the watercraft provides all your steering, but if you are not giving it any gas and no water is coming through that nozzle, and therefore you are not going to have any steering. Now, some personal watercrafts are equipped with steering assist, but when you are operating at a high speed, they dont really give you effective steering control over the vessel. For example, some watercraft have fins that come out of the watercraft at about this point, and if you turn the steering column, the fin will come out and it creates more drag on one side of the vessel and it will pull it to that side. This personal watercraft is equipped with the steering assist that actually gives itself gas. If you are turning at a high speed and you take your hand off the throttle, the jet ski will automatically give itself gas to accommodate that. But again, if you are operating at a high rate of speed, the effect of that turning is minimal and you have to remember to give it gas yourself. I am going to talk about idling the boat, and how once you get it started the boats going to continue to move forward.