Boating – How to Operate Your Personal Water Craft

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 38,094
    Lieutenant Ward Kovacs from the Ocean City Beach Patrol discusses How to Operate 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 Ward Kovacs from the Ocean City Beach Patrol. I am here to talk to you a little bit about personal watercraft today. I worked with the Beach Patrol here in Ocean City for 25 years. I have been a member of the rescue boat team for 20 years.

    We started with the rescue boats about the same time personal watercraft started becoming popular and for the same reasons, they became popular with the general public. We saw a good use for them in making rescues. They are very fast and they are very maneuverable on the water and with the same things that make them fun to use can also make them dangerous if they are not used safely.

    So many things I want to talk to you about or what to consider when you are looking into buying one, some precautions to take before you hit the water with your first personal watercraft and once you are maneuvering and once you are operating the personal watercraft, some of the steering differences between a car and a boat or a personal watercraft like this; well talk about some of the things that are particular to having a jet drive boat and some of the dangers to have a jet drive system.

    Ill now talk to you a little bit about what to do after you have finished your day on the water. So, I am going to head over the docks now and Ill talk to you some more when I get over there.