Frequently Asked Questions
What do I need to start racing jetskis?
We recommend you review the General section of the IJSBA rule book.
IJSBA Membership - can register at ijsba.com/join-ijsba/
Coast Guard Approved Flotation Device (life vest)
DOT Approved Helmet, most racers use motocross helmets
Back Protector (ski classes only)
Personal Watercraft built in alignment with class rules
Race numbers displayed on each side of the watercraft
Flexible tow loop attached to bow
Wetsuit for additional protection from the elements
What are the different Racer Classifications, and what do they mean?
Rider/Racer Classifications are listed below:
The Beginner class is provided as an entry-level class for new riders who wish to experience the fun of racing. It is open to all Novice competitors who have competed in three or fewer races. In the case of a series, riders may compete in the entire series prior to moving to the Novice class. Otherwise, in a rider’s fourth race, he/she must compete in the Novice class.
Novice competitors are those with minimal racing experience. First-time competitors must participate in the Novice or Beginner class. Novice-class riders may reclassify themselves as Expert at their own discretion. Novice-class riders may also be reclassified as Expert-class riders at the discretion of the Great Lakes Watercross, IJSBA or IJSBA International Affiliate.
The Amateur class is comprised of Novice- and Expert-level riders. Limitations may be placed on experienced competitors being allowed to participate in Amateur classes.
Expert-class riders are those who demonstrate a skill level that has exceeded beyond that of a Novice-class rider. An Expert competitor may request to be reclassified as a Pro by submitting a Change of Classification Form to the IJSBA or IJSBA International Affiliate. The IJSBA and IJSBA International Affiliates have the authority to move an Expert competitor to Pro if he/she displays skills that are superior to others in that class. An Expert competitor may request to be reclassified as an Novice by submitting a Change of Classification to the IJSBA or IJSBA International Affiliate. An Expert competitor may be moved back to Novice if it is determined by the IJSBA or IJSBA International Affiliate that his/her riding skill is not Expert-class level.
Pro riders are those who have substantial racing experience and have advanced competition skills. A Pro competitor may request to be reclassified as an Expert by submitting a Change of Classification Requests to the IJSBA or IJSBA International Affiliate. IJSBA may deny such a change in the best interest of a sport. A Pro rider may be moved back to Expert if it is determined by the IJSBA or IJSBA International Affiliate that his/her riding skill is not Pro-class level. It is entirely possible that a competitor could become ineligible for Expert class competition and not be granted a Pro classification. Competitors are advised to communicate with IJSBA prior to making any decisions to participate in a category of racing in which the competitor is not currently eligible.
The Pro-Am class is comprised of Expert- and Pro-level riders.
The Veterans Ski class is open to a riders who are 35 years of age or older. The Veterans Sport and Runabout classes are open to riders 35 years of age or older.
The Masters Ski class is open to riders who are 45 years of age or older. The Masters Sport and Runabout classes are open to riders 45 years of age or older.
Women’s classes in Novice, Expert and Pro categories are for naturally born female riders who elect to compete in them, generally for separate points, awards and/or purse.
What are juniors eligible to race, and what are the age limits?
As a general policy, the IJSBA requires that riders be 16 years old or older for all competition classes except Junior 10-12 year old Ski, Junior 13-15 year old Ski, Junior Rec Lites and other categories specifically mentioned for under 16 years of age. Boating laws in some countries require higher age minimums or allow lower age limits. IJSBA may allow competitors as young as 8 years of age in 10-12. A birth certificate and/or passport shall be presented to substantiate age. Junior racers that exhibit skills that are on the level of expert or pro racers may be admitted into Amateur, Expert, or Pro classes. This must be discussed at the time of registration for approval. Great Lakes Watercross is entitled to request proof of prior race history before admitting into a higher level class.
What are the starting procedures for the races?
There is a standard starting procedure used at Great Lakes Watercross.
Racers will be lined up in 2 lanes behind a starting band by a race official. For the first moto, racers will choose a ping pong ball from a bucket, and their number will correspond to their starting position. 1,3,5,7,9, 11 etc will be the left lane positions. 2,4,6,8,10 etc will be the right lane positions. *inside/outside lanes will vary depending on the course setup. Left lane will be the inside lane on a left handed course, and the right lane would be the inside lane on a right handed course.
For the second and third motos, the finishing position from the previous moto will be used to determine placement on the starting line. Example: 2nd place would be the pole position in the right lane.
The flagger in the scoring tower will use a card system to start the race. The starting band will be fixated to an electronic unit and will be released when the flagger turns his 1 card sideways to initiate the commencement. Riders should ALWAYS WATCH THE BAND! There will be variations in the starting procedure, and the band will release anywhere from 0-3 seconds from the card turn. Get good at watching the band, you will never run the risk of a jumped start if you watch the band!
When a 2 card is held up racers should start their engines and holders should raise the watercraft. The flagger will run down the line pointing at each racer waiting for a nod acknowledging they are ready. If any racer needs a 2 minute hold, it must be called while the two card is raised.
Once the 2 card moves to a 1 card, the race start will not be interrupted. Racers should be engaging their throttles as much as possible without moving in the water, racers may not "drag" their holders. This will be deemed as a false start.
1 CARD SIDEWAYS:
Once the 1 card is turned sideways the flagger has 0-3 seconds to engage the electronic unit to release the starting band. Racers can take off to start the race.
Stand Up racers must have both feet on the ground until the band snaps, if a racer has a knee in their tray, they will be penalized. *exception for juniors who may be allowed to start kneeling in the tray
Runabout racers must not drag their holders, even if the runabout does not go "under" the band, if a racer is pulling their holders they will get called for a rolling start.
What do the flag colors mean?
🟩 Green Flag
Indicates race in progress
🟨 Yellow Flag
Caution, hazard on the course. Riders may continue racing but need to be aware of their surroundings and understand there is a hazard on the course.
⬜ White Flag
This indicates the last lap of the race
🟥 Red Flag
Race is being immediately stopped. May be due to a false start, hazard on the course, a buoy coming loose, or any other reason determined by the race director.
🟦 Blue Flag
Lap traffic, as they say - if you see a blue flag being waved at you, this means there is a race going on and you are not in it. Please move out of the way of racers behind you.
🏁 Checkered Flag
Signifies completion of the race, riders should finish racing through the checkered buoys and safely slow down to return to tech or their pit area.
When happens when a race is red flagged?
In the event of a false start, the race will be red flagged and restarted. The competitor / competitors who are at fault for the red flag will be required to start with a dead engine and their lanyard on their head. A false start may be called for various reasons, including but not limited to: jumping the band, rolling start, knee(s) in the tray, tampering with lanyard, not holding line, pushing another competitor outside of race area, etc.
In the event a race is red flagged more than once every competitor that was penalized with a dead engine start will be required to continue to start with a dead engine.
If a race is red flagged due to safety, weather or any other reason, the race will be re-started only if less than half the specified laps were completed. If the race was red flagged and more than half the laps were completed, the race will be deemed as complete and will be scored how competitors placed on the last recorded lap.
How do points and scoring work?
Round results are determined by adding the finishing positions from each of the motos together. The rider with the lowest sum will receive the higher ranking. In case of a tie, the rider with the better finish in the final moto will receive the higher ranking.
John's Moto Finishes are: 1, 3
Jane's Moto Finishes are: 2, 1
Jack's Moto Finishes are: 3, 2
Overall Results would be:
1. Jane (2+1= 3)
2. John (1+3=4)
3. Jack (3+2=5)
Season points utilize the IJSBA official Closed Course point system. At the end of each round participants will be issued points for their overall finish at that round. Points are added up from all rounds to determine the Series/Tour Champion.
Points are distributed as follows:
1st - 60 points
2nd - 53 points
3rd - 48 points
4th - 43 points
5th - 39 points
6th - 36 points
7th - 33 points
8th - 30 points
9th - 27 points
10th - 24 points
11th - 22 points
12th - 20 points
13th - 18 points
14th - 16 points
15th -14 points
16th - 12 points
17th - 10 points
18th - 8 points
19th - 6 points
20th - 4 points
Who gets trophies or awards?
The top 3 competitors from each class determined by the overall results will be awarded with a trophy/plaque for each round. The overall series champions finishing 1st, 2nd, and 3rd will receive a Series trophy/plaque for the year.
Cash purses will be determined for each event, deciding factors will include class size, competition class level, and race location. Cash purses may be announced on social media, onsite at the event, and during riders meeting.
No on site bets or contingencies will be allowed. Anyone wishing to create a cash pot for a race must contact and organize through Great Lakes Watercross.
What are the requirements for Race Numbers on my jetski?
Racing numbers must be a minimum of 18cm (7 in.) high and spaced at least 13mm (0.50 in.) apart. Standard block-type numbers without shading or outlining must be used. It is the rider’s responsibility to ensure that the numbers are easy to read. If race numbers cannot be seen from the scoring tower, the competitor will not be scored for that moto.
If two or more riders using the same number enter the same class at the same event, all but one will be required to add a temporary letter suffix. Please discuss with registration/scoring when appropriate.
What is tech inspection and where do I do that?
Pre-race technical inspections are mandatory at all races. Pre-race inspections do not certify that the watercraft is qualified or constituted as legal for class participation.
A designated area will be specified at each event for Tech Inspection, typically this will be near the registration trailer/area. All racers will need to have each of their watercrafts inspected for safety features at tech in the morning prior to beginning any races. The tech inspector will look for the following, and if approved a decal will be placed on the watercraft indicating approval:
An approved personal flotation device
An approved helmet
Approved Back Protection (*Required only for all Ski Classes)
Overall inspection for cracks/damages on watecraft making it unsafe for racing
Flexible bow loop attached
Check that the lanyard stop switch is functioning properly and the lanyard is in good condition
Hose clamps must be secure
Post-race technical inspections determine machine qualification. All rider equipment, including helmet and personal flotation device, must be available for technical inspection.
The Technical Director reserves the right to inspect any part of any personal watercraft entered in any class. A rider refusing to cooperate with technical inspection procedures may be penalized by the Race Director.
What is the Participant Code of Conduct?
Great Lakes Watercross strictly enforces the Participant Code of Conduct. The Race Director, or any delegates may disqualify, exclude or eject the rider, owners, sponsors or pit crew member(s) for any of the following violations:
Vulgarity, offensive language or un-sportsman-like actions directed towards officials, spectators or other participants.
Failure to abide by the race rules of the IJSBA (not including equipment violations).
Failure to comply with watercraft requirements.
Any fraud or intent to deceive the administration.
Pit crew non-compliance with regulations.
Use of intoxicating beverages and/or drugs during competition
Unwillingness to accept an official’s decision.
Verbal or physical abuse of any official.
Participation in an event without holding a valid membership card or involvement in the use of another member’s card.
Providing inaccurate or false information to officials or on any official GLW or IJSBA document.
In addition to exclusion or ejection from an event, GLW or the IJSBA may determine further penalties including a fine, loss of points, suspension, disqualification or any combination of the above. The decision to discipline a rider for any of these violations is not appealable.
The rider and his/her pit crew members, in signing the entry/release, elect to use the course of the event at their own risk, acknowledge that there may be both known and unknown risks, and thereby release the promoting and sanctioning organization(s) and principals together with their heirs, assigns, officers, representatives, agents, employees, and members, sponsoring organization and owners of properties on which sanctioned events are to be held from all liability from injury to person, property, and/or reputation that may be received by said entrant and from all claims of said injuries to the parties listed above growing out of, or resulting from the event contemplated under the entry form, or caused by any construction or condition of the course over which the event is held.
The registered rider is responsible for the condition of his/her watercraft as stated in the IJSBA Official Competition Rule Book. Any rider, whether sponsored by or riding a watercraft owned by someone other than the registered rider, will still be held responsible for complying with all IJSBA rules. If the rider and/or watercraft is found to be in violation of a class rule, the rider will receive the penalty. The rider is responsible for and may be disciplined for his/her personal conduct as well as the conduct of people in his/her party, including but not limited to owners, sponsors, pit crew and family members.
What does a race course look like?
Here is an example of a closed course track: