Take a Jet Ski Ride with Steel City Jet Ski Rentals
Last updated on July 19, 2022 by Jeremy
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When we began our quest to do it all in Pittsburgh, if someone had said that one of the most enjoyable river activities was riding a jet ski, I would have had the opposite thoughts.
But after riding a jet ski on the Allegheny River and around Point State Park as guests of Steel City Jet Ski Rentals, I have to admit I’m a convert.
Not only is riding a jet ski extremely fun, it’s also a great way to see a number of river highlights in a craft you can fully control. The adrenaline junkie in me raved about the element of speed, and the photographer in me raved even more as it made for wonderful city shots too!
Enjoy Three Rivers with Steel City Jet Ski Rentals
My day with Steel City Jet Ski Rentals started at their dock on the outskirts of Sharpsburg, about eight miles east of downtown Pittsburgh along the Allegheny River.
After being fitted with all the normal safety equipment, our group headed to the docks for a crash course in jet ski operations, safety, laws and conventional river rules to follow. As it was my first time on a jet ski, I was given some extra information on how to use the machine, but all that was said was a quick and easy lesson, and I was on the river in a few minutes. .
Since the Steel City Jet Ski Rentals dock is located right next to the Sharpsburg Lock and Dam, there’s only one direction you can take: west toward town. Naturally we made our way to the point in about 15 minutes – in the process we crossed many beautiful bridges that inhabit the Allegheny River.
When we arrived, an employee who accompanied us laid down the basic rules of the river, that the area between the Fort Pitt, Fort Duquesne and West End bridges was fair game and to go have fun ( keeping all safety rules in mind, of course). This involved spinning around the water at top speeds, checking out various highlights and, for me as a photographer, frequently pulling out my phone to take pictures of everything.
It might not seem like there’s a whole lot of space between these three decks, but on a jet ski there’s a ton, and I had no shortage of places to check.
On the adrenaline side, the feeling of hitting 40mph+ on the river is one you really have to feel to understand. But on the photography side, words can’t overstate how awesome it is to be able to go between the Science Center, the Point, the Duquesne Incline and back in about a minute or two. So in the 25-30 mins or so that we had at the Point, I ended up doing various made loops to get all the shots I’ve been dreaming of for years.
It was, of course, mixed with accelerations around the confluence at high speed because that’s also what you do on a jet ski!
- To note: On weekends, the area around the Point is a no-wake zone with maximum speeds of 5 mph. So only those who rent during the week will be able to enjoy moving at faster speeds like the ones mentioned above. Competing against other boats and craft on weekends is a particular concern that we will discuss in the next section.
First time on a Jet Ski? There are some things to note
Now I would be remiss if I didn’t take a few notes on using a jet ski on rivers, if only because it comes with a lot of safety rules, laws status and other caveats you need to be aware of. of.
First, jet skis require an active boater’s license to operate. Pennsylvania law states that you must be at least 12 years old to obtain a boater’s license, and Steel City Jet Ski Rentals will rent jet skis to people 16 and older as the primary operator. Most jet skis can have a passenger in the back, and the company doesn’t have an age limit for these – just the operator. (As always, terms may change, so reconfirm before booking.)
On the plus side, you don’t have to pay for a permanent license to rent a jet ski. The state offers a temporary license for rental scenarios like these. Before your rental, you will need to watch a safety video of approximately 10 minutes (sent by the company) and answer a quiz to receive a temporary permit. This is usually done a day or two ahead of your rental, so allow time for this. (Likewise, be prepared to sign multiple waivers, which is expected for any adventure activity.)
The jet ski operator must also have their ID on them at all times, and Steel City Jet Ski Rentals provided me with a dry bag and my phone during the rental. It was perfect for protecting my phone, but you have to be very careful when removing it to take photos to make sure your ID doesn’t accidentally fall into the river. (I’m not saying it happened, but I will say I had a close call.)
While most of the safety rules for using a jet ski are pretty straightforward, you’d do well to keep things like wake zones in mind as the rules change on rivers depending on the day of the week. Additional wake zones are put in place on the weekends, especially around Point State Park, so weekend renters may not have the exact same experience that I may have had when taking out a weekday. That being said, we recommend that all renters rent at least 60 minutes to have enough time to enjoy the Point, but keep in mind that rental prices vary depending on the day of the week and the time of the day. daytime.
From there, although riding a jet ski is fairly easy, it takes a few minutes to get used to balancing on it. When you go slow, you tend to move more; when you are faster, the craft comes out of the water and is slightly more stable. It’s an awkward feeling and a little counterintuitive, especially if you encounter boat wakes or other jet skis, but I have to admit I still got used to it within minutes.
It’s probably a bigger issue on weekends, mainly due to more wake restrictions, but also more boaters in general, and when it’s rained recently, so those are things to keep in mind before renting if you are unsure of your abilities. Also, be careful of others when out for a ride, as jet skis can create quite large wakes, which can be problematic for small watercraft like kayaks, pontoons, and even boats. Keep your distance and manage your speed when you are near other people.
All in all, I have to admit that I was incredibly happy with my experience jet skiing down the rivers for a weekday ride. I was very lucky to have calm conditions which made riding easier and being able to see the city from the top of a jet ski was something I will never forget.
Steel City Jet Ski Rental is located at 151 19th St. in Sharpsburg, PA. I was a guest of Steel City Jet Ski Rentals for this review. As always, all opinions are my own.
Looking for more ways to get out on Pittsburgh’s rivers? Click on the previous link to discover some of our favorites!