The Jet Ski Incident

The Jet Ski Incident

Ever since I started dating my husband, he has wanted to rent jet skis.  He’s a bit of an adrenaline junkie, and a jet ski is basically the motorcycle of the sea (he has a motorcycle).  When we visit the beach in North Carolina with my family, there never seems to be enough time.  When we were on our honeymoon, we couldn’t find a good jet ski rental place around the areas of Puerto Rico where we were staying.  It just hasn’t worked out.

So when I knew we were going on the cruise, I gave him a tiny Lego jet ski for his birthday in late October to symbolize the jet ski I was going to rent for him when we went to Cozumel over thanksgiving.

We arrived at Cozumel early Saturday morning to a beautiful day with pleasantly warm weather.  Perfect for jet skiing!  So we took a cab to the private beach club where I had made the jet ski reservation.


A very friendly staff member handed us life jackets, and took us to our magical jet ski.  He basically said, “You see that boat?  And that boat?  Don’t go past those boats.  You see that blue line in the water?  Don’t go past that – it’s for scuba diving.”

The area he pointed out for us to jet ski in was fairly gigantic.  There were basically no other instructions, and my husband beamed.

Now, let me say that a key part of this jet ski plan was for me to ride on the back of the jet ski while Tim drove.  Since I have a slight tendency to be a worry wort, I had told myself, “Now Lauren, don’t ruin his birthday present by yelling at him to go slower and get upset.  This will be totally fine!  Just hang on and don’t cause a fuss.”

So I got on behind him, and held onto his life jacket.

Tim hit the gas, and the jet ski skipped across the water about 3/4 of the way to the “blue line” we shouldn’t cross.  Then Tim turned it left, and headed towards one of the boats at full speed.  Since this is the ocean, there were waves. We caught air more than once.  I thought, “Oh my god.  This is fairly terrifying. I’m going to be quiet though.”

We turned a little, and the jet ski suddenly seemed a lot less stable than when we were going straight.  Immediately after that turn, he hit the gas again and we were flying.


“Wow.  This is officially terrifying.  As soon as he slows down enough to hear me, I’m going to ask him to drop me off at the shore so I can watch him tear around at full speed.  I sure would rather be going much slo…”

And that’s when we both flew about ten feet off the jet ski.

Now, I can swim just fine.  Add a life jacket, and I am not at all concerned about drowning.  Tim looked back at me, to which I said “It’s fine.  No big deal,” and we both started swimming back to the jet ski.

Back to the jet ski that was going out to sea since you know, current.

Tim made it there first, and I just swam over to him.  That’s when I looked down where I was swimming.  See, Cozumel has crystal clear blue water.  That’s why it’s so great for scuba and snorkel, because you can see the wildlife.

Proof of wildlife
Proof of wildlife

Wildlife like the barracuda fish I saw on the dock leaving the boat.  Wildlife like the jellyfish that stung two tourists back by the beach where we rented the jet ski.  I remembered these things as I looked down to see large white rocks and coral underneath me.  My brain immediately flipped to every single Blue Planet documentary I had ever watched, which is basically one long “Let me tell you about all the things in the ocean that can kill you!”

I panicked a little, and started swimming really fast to the jet ski.

So I get there, and want to get out of the murderous ocean as soon as possible.  It’s probably full of Mako sharks.  Most definitely.

Tim gets on the jet ski with a decent amount of struggle, and then I realized problem number two.  I couldn’t get on the damn thing.

Now this is not easy for me to admit, because I honestly felt like a giant fat whale trying to beach itself unsuccessfully… but I would struggle to get about halfway on and then I would feel the jet ski start to tip again… and I’d panic and slide back into the water.  I’d also like to blame the fact that I still had a fairly bad cold at this point, but honestly I’m just out of shape and struggled.  Several times I tried to get on, and each time that I was unsuccessful I grew more and more upset.

Just when I was about to tell Tim just to leave me to become a creature of the sea, the guy who tows the banana boat shows up to rescue me.

Except the banana boat guy is telling me to just “Put my leg over the side of the boat” which is about 2.5′ out of the water and basically the great wall of China.

I finally got on the boat, but it wasn’t pretty.  I may or may not have broken my lady parts in the process.

So banana boat man takes me back to shore, and Tim follows slowly behind in the jet ski.  I’m half panting, and half pleading with him to “finish riding and enjoy your present!” but he said he didn’t want to jet ski without me.

I felt so bad that I cut the birthday jet ski ride short.  We were probably only on the thing for five minutes.  Also, I was super embarrassed.  All of this happened before a crowded beach of tourists.


We floated in the (shallow) part of the beach for a bit while my nerves calmed down, and Tim convinced me that I didn’t ruin his trip and I shouldn’t be upset (I was).

Then we walked around Cozumel a bit, which is pretty charming.






I also found a pretty strong Margarita, which helped.


Essentially, I’m never getting on a jet ski again.

33 thoughts on “The Jet Ski Incident

  1. Oh my gosh. Maybe I do need to share my cruise story, after all.

    I’m hoping you don’t mind that I laughed out loud at your almost telling your husband to ‘leave you to become a creature of the sea.’ Dying!

  2. I also have a speed demon husband.. & trust me, riding on the back of any kind of machinery with a speed demon husband IS NOT FUN… However, being able to drive yourself on a jet ski (or a sand dune buggy-my experience) is WAY funner!! You can control where you go & at what speed. 🙂 Just a though!

  3. Haha! It could have been worse. The one time I was on a jet ski, it was with my uncle in a mountain reservoir. All was well until we flipped it (oops) and then we couldn’t get back on, despite both being very fit, because we managed to flood the engine and it was sinking.

    In hundreds of feet of water.

    My aunt had to come racing out and tow us back to shore. Funny thing, I never got invited to go on the jet skis again.

    1. Haha! I just pictured that perfectly. I am highly amused at your story and poor Lauren’s adventure. I’ve got some jet ski stories too. I think that is just what happens when you ride a jet ski…kind of like picking a random horse out in the field, hopping on an hauling ass.

  4. DYING! You poor thing.. I can attest to the fact that riding on the back of a jet ski in the middle of the ocean is TERRIFYING and SLIPPERY… though I have not (yet) fallen off of one. But at least it made for a hilarious story!

  5. Omg! No way I’m EVER getting on a jet ski. I have zero desire to do anything more than skiing behind a nice gently turning boat. I can’t imagine getting back on one, either. I feel like I’m mentally challenged when trying to do anything athletic in the water, like, climb out of it, or climb into it.

  6. I would never have gotten on the jet ski in the first place, husband or no husband – I would have found that strong margarita and consumed it while trying not to watch my husband nearly die (I’m sure) on said jet ski. You get an extra gazillion good wife points!

    As for those sea creatures? Totally with you there.

  7. Love all your trip pictures and seriously come visit me in California my cousins have all sorts of water toys including 4 jet skis and you and tim can each have your own on the lake not full of things that are gonna kill you. Other then trout nibbling your toes.

  8. Jet skiing is so much fun. I grew up on a lake and we had jet skis and it was amazing. Next time (if there ever is for you) or for anyone else who might be scared of jet skiing, let me give you a few pointers:

    1) Riding behind someone is way more terrifying and slippery then being the one in the passenger seat. If at all possible, get your own jet ski.
    2) The faster you are going while turning, the harder it is to tip the thing. I know this is counter intuitive but somehow it works. 🙂

    Sorry you didn’t have the best experience jet skiing, but at least you got a margarita out of the deal! And a fun story.

  9. Oh man, what a time! I’m an adrenaline junkie, so I LOVE jet-skis, four-wheelers, etc. etc. But flying off them at a high rate of speed is NOT fun.

    My beached whale moment happened a few years ago while I was white water rafting- I’ve been several times, but this particular time, I was going with a group of friends, one of whom worked as a river guide every summer. When we got to a calm spot in the river, my guide friend encouraged everyone to jump out of the raft and swim for a bit. We did, and everyone else handily scrambled back into the raft…except for me. With a lot of grunting, ungraceful struggling, and a good pull from my friends, I flopped in. I’ve never jumped out of a raft again.

  10. With the rest of the audience, I laughed out loud reading this too. At the bit about your “lady parts” getting mangled.

    I have a similar story – I was on one with my cousin who was high tailing it around. We were in a cove and she got too close to the bank, and we got eclipsed by a low hanging tree branch. Into the water I flew.

    I Immediately made her trade places with me.

    So the morale of the story is: Get back on. You drive. More fun, less death defying.

  11. I loved the city of cozumel-we had AMAZING food at the little place we stopped at. That said, I hate open water and immediately think something is going to eat me. Totally feel your pain.

  12. ahhh oh no! that is definitely NOT my kind of ride either lol. glad you made it out mostly ok – and thank god for margaritas. (that little lego jet ski as a bday present tho? too cute)

  13. I’m sorry, but I was almost crying laughing. I’m pretty sure anyone trying to get on a jet ski feels like a whale trying to beach. Also, I would be scared of sea creatures as well… Jellyfish absolutely terrify me.

  14. “I may or may not have broken my lady parts in the process.”

    I lost it. I’m sorry. You wrote it just so funny…

  15. I decided a while ago that I love the ocean…from the shore. But get me the heck out of it where all those creepy crawlers can kill me. That sounds terrifying!! Also, I have never been able to figure out how anyone for or not can get back onto a jet ski from down in the water

  16. HAHAHAHA – OMG that was funny!!! After 24 years together, we both know what weird things I am game for and for which ones I am not. I am happy to go and clap and cheer, but occasionally, I stay on the shore, on the ground, or at home! I bought hubby a skydive for Valentine’s Day last year, and he was fine with me cheering him on from the safety (and comfort) of the landing site. The things we’ll do for love, eh?! :0)

  17. This has happened to the best of us!

    I grew up riding jet skis. The amount of times I FLIPPED them over trying to heft my fat ass up onto one? Can’t even count. Eventually I realized you have to get on from the back, and very quickly. It takes a ton of upper body strength! And those of us who aren’t stick-thin have a suckier time at it. 🙁 Sorry this happened to you, but at least it makes a great story! Ha ha!

  18. You’re a great story teller – I definitely LOL’d at some parts, completely relating to all the scary things the ocean has to “offer” us. Looks like a beautiful place!

  19. This post made me laugh and laugh, all while at work. I went out jet-skiing with my boyfriend on my trip to Mexico last year. He was hauling ass, and all I could think about was holding on for dear life because I’m terrified of getting into deep ocean water. It’s just spooky! You will look back on this story fondly in a year or so 😉

  20. Thanks for sharing. You deserve major wife points!

    I feel your pain of embarrassment. I got washed on shore and pummeled by Pacific waves in Hawaii. I was so disoriented that I didn’t realize my top was missing. Now I know why the locals hang out on the wall watching the swimmers.

  21. you earned enough points to last quite a few years for that! I would NOT be a willing passenger. It would be me with the margarita on the beach watching. I like the analogy someone posted: imagine grabbing whatever horse out of the field, jumping on and galloping full tilt. Um, NO.

    I feel like I take enough risks riding and jumping sticks and galloping on trails.

  22. Don’t feel bad, majority of holiday accidents are on jet skis! I had a client who broke his shoulder on one in Mexico, had surgery…got home, passed out, got flesh eating disease active from the surgery, and lost all his limbs. So, it could have been worse. :p

  23. OMG how did I miss this post? Oh man I can totally relate – my husband also likes the fast-thing adventures…and there’ been plenty of crazy embarrassing moments!!

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