The smell of exhaust, the sound of the two stroke engine rumbling beneath your feet, the water gurgling from the water being expelled from the thrust of the water intake system…. Imagine you are a jet-ski instructor and responsible for each individual’s safety while he or she is enjoying themselves on a wave runner. The faces are filled with anticipation and some nervousness while you instruct them on safety, the basic systems and the proper procedures for how to maneuver the personal water craft. Once the instructions have been completed you let them loose. What follows can only be compared to the stampede of the bulls in various parts of the world; as an instructor, you hear loud screams of laughter and excitement which echo over the water and the sound of the engines.
You’re patrolling the water keeping a vigilant watch on the families and friends enjoying themselves. The water is warm and calm with a few ripples from a gentle breeze blowing over the water’s surface. You’re watching your class have fun as well as keeping an eye on other individuals who are on the waterway with their PWCs. There is nothing you can do about them except keep them out of your zoned areas. Moving water crafts at high speeds are no joke and not to be taken lightly – neither at 5mph nor at 70.
The sun is still out with a few overhead clouds and you are sitting in the middle of the water on top of your water craft. The sound of water puttering from the stern while the engine is idling almost sounds like bubbles being blown through a straw into a cup of water or milk. The day has been busy and is almost complete. Your class just finished up their joy ride and now you’re at a floating dock, prepping for the next class. Then it happens! Your co-worker screams to you, “HELP!” “I NEED HELP!” “HELP” “PLEASE HELP ME!!!” There was a collision! I don’t know what to do! Note: This accident was not part of said class.
You launch onto your watercraft without hesitation; the engine is deafening as you crouch down to get that extra mph, You are flying over the water as if there was nothing beneath you; the wind is forcing your face to tighten up as you grit your teeth. The sound of the wind, water, and engine screaming with the throttle wide open is almost deafening; the entire time you’re not sure what you will see when you get to the scene, but you just know you have to remain calm. Then you see something in the water. It’s a body floating close to the shoreline. In terms of assistance, it’s just you and your co-worker. You size up the scene and act accordingly…. As in any life threatening situation, always think before acting! I have been in some professional training simulations, actual situations and not some joke scenarios that I have witnessed along my travels! This is the real deal and there is no humor in this! You grab the body and pull it to shore; keep in mind your partner has no idea how to perform CPR. It’s their first week on the job.
Another spectator pulls up on the shore line and you yell to them to go get help! You’re on the water, so help is not coming fast. A minute seems like an hour and so forth. NO PULSE! NOT BREATHING! SHIT!!! Your heart sinks… The gurgling of the water is heard as you are trying to get air into the lungs. The eyes are empty of any life. You’re doing everything possible to help this individual, but it’s too late. Once EMS arrives, you hear the pronouncement, D.O.A…. There is still time left on your shift; back to work you go. For the co-worker, it was the last day on the job as a jet-ski instructor. The situation was too disturbing.
Having experienced the above situation in my early 20s, it was heartbreaking as a trained rescue professional to do everything possible and not be able to save someone’s life. My own family could not grasp the impact that this had, and would have, on me, nor did they want to listen to what I was going through. I had to heal myself from this experience, and still to this day I think about this from time to time. All you can do is keep moving, and move forward the best you can in any situation. Try to have a sense of humor, because sometimes that just might get you through whatever it is you might be going through.
See you in the next post!