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Old 03-23-2012, 11:05 PM
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Default PWC: Rescue Water Craft History (RWC)


AHOY! Test your RWC knowledge. You will discover how little you truly know. If you spent time with all these stories, you will have a broad grasp on the history of RWC, teams and the advances made in our water rescue community!

To visit the complete Personal Water Craft (PWC) History click on this link:

The small boats occupational referred to as Rescue Water Craft or RWC have revolutionized lifesaving worldwide within my lifetime. This has been a personal goal. It is due in large respect to support I received since 1989 from Yamaha Motors Corporation USA and Kawasaki Motors Corporation USA.

Virgil Chambers, Executive Director of the National Safe Boating Council (left)
Shawn Alladio, Founder of K38 International (center)
Ed Huntsman, Arizona Game and Fish Department (right)
At the 2012 International Boating & Water Safety Summit, San Diego, CA, receiving their K38 Italia recognition award from our International Summit back in 2011.

Personal Watercraft History for the Evolution of the Rescue Water Craft
By Shawn Alladio

Development and Use of Personal Water Craft in Aquatic Rescue Operations

For my full report on the History of Personal Watercraft, follow this link:

In 1967, Clayton Jacobsen (inventor) took his original ‘sit-down’ design and patent to Bombardier, to license as a boating product. It was a sit down style of boat, yellow with black accessories. There were under 100 units in production with Bombardier, which unfortunately never took off in terms of recreational consumers interest. The original model contained an 18 hp (13 kW), 318 cc Rotax, air-cooled engine, in all honesty its still the same concept, just with increased technological advantages.


The patent then reverted back to Mr. Jacobsen from Bombardier after they declined the project for further production in 1971 . Mr. Jacobsen went back to the drawing board and designed a product that he felt would better suit what operators would possibly be interested in purchasing. The day after the first patent expired he went into a partnership with Kawasaki and sold off his patent rights to them.

1968 Sea Doo

He developed a stand-up personal watercraft[COLOR=black similar to his original concept design, for which Kawasaki branded the JET SKI.[/COLOR] The difference between his first design was that this stand up featured a collapsible vertical pole which dropped down onto the deck of the craft resting on the engine hood. The design was meant to be for a more personal craft, and had room for only one person typically in a kneeling or standing position.

A lawsuit would ensue that last many years in litigation. Jacobson and Kawasaki created six different prototypes in 1972, before bringing two to market in 1973, the WSAA and the WSAB models.

The Green Machine

He later alleged in court that Kawasaki terminated the agreement and told him his patents were not needed. He filed suit against them in 1976, and settled the claim in 1979. Kawasaki nevertheless remained the exclusive manufacturer of PWC's until Jacobson made a licensing agreement with Yamaha Motors Corporation in 1986.

Jacobson filed another lawsuit against Kawasaki and two of its American subsidiaries in 1989, claiming they had improperly obtained patents for the Jet Ski in Japan and named its own employees as the inventors. The former claims were dismissed by the judge, but on the latter Jacobson was awarded US $7.5 million in compensatory damages and US $13.5 million in punitive damages by a jury in July 1991 for libel and slander.

The ruling was overturned by a US judge in September of the same year, stating evidence was insufficient and ordered for a new trial.The two sides reached a settlement in August 1992. No payment amounts were disclosed, but Kawasaki Motors Corp. U.S.A. agreed to acknowledge Jacobson invented the Jet Ski, and all charges against Kawasaki were dropped.

The first original stand up pre-production prototypes were all aluminum hulls, with a stationary fixed handle pole. His son, Clayton Jacobsen III (CJ3) was the test pilot at the age of 9 at Cabrillo Beach, San Pedro California and the Colorado River. This craft looked like a vessel out of ‘Buck Rodgers’. He worked on his prototype until he figured out the design characteristics necessary for the type of ride that he felt would be needed, eventually changing the fixed position on the handle pole to a ‘pivot pin’, that allowed the handle pole to move up and down while the operator gripped the handlebars.

This was a pump drive system, capable of carrying a single operator. The craft at this time did not have a lanyard, rather a start/stop switch was employed for future models. If the operator was separated from their craft, the Jet Ski would at an idle speed circle in a wide arch, hopefully returning in close proximity of the downed rider. Or a rider would have to swim back to the craft.

It was the year 1973 in which Clayton sold his product concept to Kawasaki Motors Corporation. The new ‘JETSKI’ was launched publically with the models WSAA bore a flat hull and WSAB bore a V-hull configuration with moderate success. These 2 models were produced on a limited basis powered by a two stroke twin cylinder engine.

During this time there was only one PWC manufacturer for 17 years, until the patent was exhausted. This was Kawasaki Motors Corporation USA, the next in line would be Yamaha Motors Corporation USA with a brand that ultimately was trademarked as ‘Waverunner’. Clayton also played a major role in Yamaha watercraft designs.

The Kawasaki product line was called “JET SKI', a trademark name designated their line of Personal Watercraft.

In 1976 Kawasaki launched their new lineup in mass production with the JS400 model. The crossover outdoor enthusiasts from surfing/dirtbike users loved the product but wanted more horsepower. Thus, the JS400-A was created. The horsepower race continues today, with PWC' engines rushing the 400 horsepower mark bearing four stroke technology.

Each production JETSKI model would bear the following:

c.c. would refer to the numeral marking suggesting the engine size, such as '400cc or 400 Jet Ski', which was the first design sold. Additional models for the 440 Jet Ski, 550 Jet Ski, 300 Jet Ski (a single cylinder eninge), all stand up models.

The first PWC's were designed for operation by a single operator in the standing/kneeling position in what was called the 'foot tray'. They were developed to combine the elements of small craft size, maneuverability, and an active ride. Oftentimes they were referred to as 'dirtbikes on water'.


1970's - First Generation
1980's - Second Generation
1990's - Third Generation
2000's - Fourth Generation
2010's - Fifth Generation

There is a solitary core genesis agency: Huntington Beach City Lifeguard Department. And there are two additional perfect ‘Legacy’ examples of public safety agencies that use PWC’s. I have taken photos of their equipment when traveling or training, and copies of awards due to rescues they conducted, amazing groups:

The very First agency in the world to receive stand up Jet Skis was Huntington Beach City Lifeguards in California. They were not used for rescue, but today the HBLG's carry on the tradition of RWC rescue applications.

East and West Coast Legacy Departments

1. Kill Devil Hills North Carolina, Lifeguard Beach Service, owned by Bob Gabriel
Outer Banks, The Graveyard of The Atlantic

2. Taft-Nelscott-De-Lake (TND) volunteer Fire Rescue department in Lincoln City, Oregon

Ralph Baller was one of those involved with the TND volunteer group. Ralph recently passed away on
1/21/2012. He served in the US Navy during WWII. He died at age 84.

Ralph Baller, TND Volunteer Fire Rescue - RIP

Still using Kawasaki Stand Ups today. They take a line out to the ocean stranded. One lifeguard deploys the JET SKI from the back of a lifeguard beach truck. In 1999 the lifeguard service became: Kill Devil Hills Ocean Rescue

These are the pioneering JET SKI agencies using standup PWC’s for rescues in the surf zone. Others have made claims but do not know their historical lineage. Most of these claims were made in the early 1990s, two decades after the initial rescue operators had been saving lives without media coverage or recognition.

This record will set straight the timeline lineage that is missing in the public view and for occupational users to pay their due respects to their pioneering predecessors.

Kill Devil Hills is still using stand up Kawasaki models today! North Lincoln Fire Rescue used to be TND, and is active today in their original program, and have the longest serving traditions worldwide.

In 1977 Kawasaki Motors corporation sent out a team of 4 experts that went on a national tour, the tour was in association with a tanning lotion company I believe it was called the 'Tropical Tan Tour', these experts, 2 of which were Brad Southworth and Steve Stricklin who went to the East and West Coast popular lifeguard beaches, demonstrated the use of these ‘Jet Ski’s’.


Brad is still passionately involved in rescue and his love of water sports. He makes pilgrimages to San Onfore for surf sessions and keeps in contact with the original crew. Brad Southworth retired from working at Kawasaki Motors Corporation USA and resides with his family in Montana in 2012.


Steve Stricklin is still working at Kawasaki and I see him on my visits there almost every month. Steve is recognized as the 'Godfather of the Sport' of Jetskiing. Steve was one of my first professional sponsors when I was racing on the IJSBA National Tour. He was co-owner with Ed Lozinski of L&S Engineering. It's quite possible that Steve has more intellectual knowledge of the sport than any other person.

My first Professional IJSBA Race in 1989 on an L&S Engineered race boat at the Nautical Inn, Havasu. Prior to this I had been competing since 1980 in fun events, as a Novice and Expert Racer;

I got second in the world in Slalom and fourth in the world for closed course overall. Not bad for my rookie race, I wasn't prepared, didn't have equipment and was a hobbyist. There were great folks racing and these were the days. I have enjoyed these boats so much over the years. Racing is something that only a few women have been good at, Brenda Burns for me was the true role model, graceful and respectful. We all have mentors, who are yours?

IIn 2011 at the IJSBA Parade of Nations ceremony in Lake Havasu, Arizona, Brad Southworth was awarded the first ever induction into the K38 LEGACY award for his recognition of being the ‘Founding Father of PWC Rescue’.

The first JET SKI race was promoted in a lagoon located in North County San Diego, called Snug Harbor. It was here that the racers, ‘kneeled’ on their ‘stand-up’ race boats negotiating a buoy course boats, barely traveling under 40 mph.

Another early southern California race site was held in the back bay of Newport Beach at the ‘DUNES’.

Kawasaki Motors Corporation began the offshoot racing and created the associate body which today the sanctioning body is titled IJSBA (International Jet Sports Boating Association). In these early days it was called the USJSBA United States Jet Ski Boating Association. My original membership ID listed me as #53!

It was during this time the first rescue operations were truly performed as the sport gained popularity because the promoters were concerned regarding how to respond to injury/accidents during the race events.

Chuck Kuntz was the responsible person for implementing the first JETSKI rescue cause in Southern California races. His vision is what generated the ‘Course Marshal’ inception a the JETSKI rescue program began from these humble origins of racing.

CHUCK KUNTZ created the JETSKI Rescue Concept

In the 1980’s the JS550 was introduced into the production lineup. It had a revised capacity mixed flow pump, with a 531 cm3 2-stroke twin, with a featured RPM control.

In 1981 for instance, Arcadia Jet Ski hosted a ‘Jet Ski Jamboree’, over 350 Jet Ski owners in southern California showed up for a day of racing, competition, and fun games and festivities. I attended this event in San Dimas at Puddingstone Resevoir, and was amazed at the amount of riders.

I competed in every single event, and was the only stand up racer. I was also six months pregnant with my first daughter Kyla. You could say she was born into the sport.

Because of the concentration of boats and events increasing, the demand was for competent course marshals: a rescuer, (cowboy clown of sorts) and an official.

We have already met them earlier. These individuals were also JET SKI racers with a background from field service in Viet Nam of ‘dedicated service’, developing a team, concentrating on getting the racer safely back to their boat or to medical support. (Ronny Kling and Brad Southworth were the pioneers and are considered first generation for rescue work as I mentioned earlier).

I was hit twice during competing and this is how I became friends with both of them, through their safety interaction on the course. These people created a lot of the techniques for rescues using stand-up boats.

K38's Shawn Alladio, 1979
18 years of age, my first sponsor: MB PRODUCTS, Mark Butler

Brad Southworth, Steve Strickland, Ronny Kling and Paul Peloso being the forefathers of this type of work in the formative years. I learned a lot of my beginning work through BC Racing and Brad Southworth, where later on in 1989 we taught fire service and lifeguard personnel in Southern California…I affectionaly call this our ’dinosaur days’.


This rescue/safety course marshal idea as I stated came from Mr. Chuck Kuntz. Chuck is the originator in thought and execution of creating the first rescue team. All rescues came from this original team, the equipment, ideas and transport issues on standups. Originally the racers themsleves would drag the injured back to shore. Same as most of the R&D for PWC's development was derived from race boats and teams, even today there is testing in the field that performance riders provide.

They are the orignators of the programs we enjoy today, and we pay homage to their presence and recognize thier historical relevance in our boating safety communities worldwide.

Shawn Alladio rescuing Italian racer Gimme Bossio at the IJSBA World Finals, The Nautical Inn, Havasu, AZ

The big change came in 1984 with the ‘Wedge’, a form manufactured by Fun-Tech. This changed the face of the budding JETSKI water rescue. This device was a pre-molded form that a Jet Ski slipped into, and with the turn of a few screws/clamps, was locked in place.

L-Brad Southworth moves in on a rescue while Ronny Kling covers. Fun Tech Wedges

The Jet Ski became a stable platform and adequate for rescue work. It also allowed less phsyically capable individuals of enjoying the fun on a stand up jet ski which was now the foreunner for what was coming next... this would eventually put this ingenious idea out of business.


This was the predecessor for our sit down type of craft and the premise for re-introducing Mr. Jacobsen original sit down design from Bombardier. This design was later adapted by two additional oversize sponsons to the Kawasaki X-2 Model as well.

The X-2 was actually considered a sit-down/stand-up style craft and was rated for an occupant capacity of 2 people. These early races would see rescues with injuries and assists using this product over a 2 day period.

In 1989 in Region 1 & 2 of the IJSBA competition territories, you could race every weekend all year round due to the popularity of this new motorized water sport. One event we had over 800 entries and our race laps were only to the count of three! We barely finished a full days racing, with freestyle, closed course, obstacle and slalom events.

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Old 03-23-2012, 11:06 PM
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Continued below:

1968 SEA DOO-where it all got launched for the new market:


Huntington Beach City Lifeguard Department had a yellow stand up JETSKI. They had taken that green 'indoor-outdoor' carpeter and added it to the stern of the stand up tray. Brad South worth never saw the ski in action but he saw it at the agency. Steve Strickland was trying his best to convince the lifeguards and fire departments to use the stand up jetskis.

Steve convinced a lifeguard in 1977-1978 to run up the rivermouth at Golden Shores (which is now a ferry landing) on the standups. This location is where the Queen Mary rests.


Brad Southworth was setting up the on water segment for Tropical tan Jetski tour. 'Bruce Sternstrom was doing the sign up for the riders on the beach. People were screaming and yelling, pointing to the water...I looked down and a guy was in the water sinking and I saw him about 6 feet down, looking at me as he was going down not doing anything but sinking, and I knew I had one shot to get him, so I dove down from the Jetski and grabbed him by the hair and dragged him to shore.....'

Meet Clayton Jacobsen
Clayton is the epicenter of our modern Personal Water Craft (PWC). He designed the original product that took off in the 1970's and is the founding father of designs.


CJ3 would test ride this at the Colorado River. The family had a place at Parker. He also test rode this model at Cabrillo Beach in San Pedro CA.

Kawasaki began their original ‘loaner program’ in 1977 on that first ‘tour’, the predecessor to the PWIA (Personal Watercraft Industry) Law Loan Program we enjoy today.

Brad Southworth, Bruce Stjerstrom and Steve Strickland were on this tour; and one of the original Jet Ski Rescue concept began at Huntington Beach, California. Steve was the individual pushing the platform and idea.

Left- Right: Steve Strickland, Bruce Stjerstrom, Brad Southworth and Christian


K38 trained Huntington Beach Lifeguards, still using RWC's in 2012

Bobby Green a great friend of mine was a lifeguard in North Carolina who enjoyed the stand up jetski, for goofing off on in those late 1970's, but not much luck on rescues as he fondly tells me.

Many of these agencies used the boats for ‘playing’, rather than rescue work due to their instability and lack of operator respect and knowledge, there were no formal instructional programs during this time.

Late 1980’s, right before the patent from Kawasaki was lifted. First introduction of a true Sit down model, was the Kawasaki Jet Mate, this vessel didn’t gain in popularity in terms of it’s use, it was a bathtub type of boat tender with an operational ‘joystick’ and was also loaned to many agencies with limited use.

Then the first ‘true’ sit-down from Kawasaki, the TS (Tandem Sport), where the operator was seated.

The FUN TECH Wedge changed everything. From here we went back to the concept of a 'sit down' type of PWC.

Dale's Jet Ski
Providing the first utility service work for a stand up jetski during races in California.

Ronny Kling working at a BC Race in Long Beach Marine Stadium, California with a Fun Tech Wedge.

Kawasaki TS In Action

The TS was the first vessel that was widely received mainly from law enforcement agencies as a patrol/rescue vessel and then the SC Model was introduced, a slide ‘helm’ that could be moved for the operator or the passenger sliding on the console in a locked pin position.Due to the interest of the recreational consumer in respect to an active family lifestyle, these evolutions created the demand for larger designed craft, capable of carrying 2-3 persons on board.

Such as towing inflatables, water skis or wakeboards. When Kawasaki’s patent was lifted, Yamaha joined the PWC (Personal Watercraft, or Hawaii’s term-‘thrill craft’) market with their Wave Jammer, Waverunner III’s, etc.

Before rescue boards and their concept, we used 'Stokes Litters' with flotation. This was a rather risky and dangerous application in terms of hand helds cutting rescuers hands. The attachment points to the RWC were marginal. The Stokes rode virtually on top of the jet stream plume, and the 'rescuer' had to balance themselves and thier patient throughout the delivery. The 'basket' could sink, fold or wrap in a swiftwater environment. The operations and speed of the craft helsman were critical.

But, it was all that was available and ingenuity adapted what was on shore, the fire trucks and emergency service equipment. This photo I took at a K38 Course in Raystown, Pennsylvannia. Eric Malone was in this course. He later rescued 4 people during the historic floods and received numerous commendations as well as a visit from President Clinton.

Ultra Nautics also had their own version of a PWC which had a ‘foil’ design front section powered by a powerful jet pump drive system. These craft were the fastest PWC’s at the time reaching clocked speeds of over 50 MPH this was called a Wet Bike.

There was also the Wet Jet, that never gained the same popularity during the mid 80’s, and later saw a resurgence of it’s product, however production remained stagnant in comparison to Yamaha and Kawasaki.

Remember, the PWC manufacturers are not building these boats for occupational use, individuals are modifying their use for that area during this time, they are primarily a recreational sales committed product.

In 1986 the JS300 was introduced for beginner’s. It wasn’t received well.In 1989 the first ever sit down JETSKI was produced. The Tandem Sport TS 650 with a 635 cm-3 engine, a two seater watercraft.

Herbie Fletcher a well-known surfer had been trying to convince the lifeguards in Hawaii for several years about Standups being used in the surf. On a notable big wave surfing Brian Kealuan had a wipeout, and Herbie was there on his standup JETSKI.

Herbie Fletcher rode into the pit near Brian and told Brian that ‘everything was going to be ok’, that assurance is what gave him Brian the push for the PWC idea which he followed through with on his own accord and funding.

This is when Brian decided he was going to investigate this craft from a lifeguard perspective, based off the personal interaction and ability for Herbie to reach his location so quickly. this was in the early 90’s, Brian purchased his own Waverunner and received tickets personally from law enforcement using the craft for rescues, until he could prove in a court of law and to his lifeguard department at the County of Honolulu, during a hearing.

Herbie Fletcher, a historical account of introducing Personal Water Craft to Hawai'ian lifeguards for surf rescue. This is where it began in Hawai'i for lifeguarding. In fact, in the 1970's South Carolina and California were already using stand up jetskis for lifeguards.

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Old 03-23-2012, 11:06 PM
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Continued Below:

Kim Harris, Glenn Bothwell, Shawn Allladio and Shaniah 2012 Kawasaki HQ
Vintage JETSKI lifejacket

The system provides the craft operator with a stable, high-speed, exceptionally maneuverable (jet pump drive system) vessel, which can operate under the most (Some of the most demanding- extreme aquatic conditions. Its shallow draft, compact size, and relatively low weight (in comparism to other rescues type vessels) allow for quick launching and operation in environments inaccessible to propeller powered craft (Using a custom tote, or additional personnel), with trained personnel.

The rescue sled adds additional stability, a platform to carry rescue/safety equipment, other rescuers, and the ability to pick-up, transport, and/or treat single and/or multiple patients, depending upon the situation and environment.by a 3 point anchor system versus a single point quick release strength-rated attachments, stainless steel hardware, In addition to its' main mission of assisting and rescuing recreational swimmers or fishermen, beach combers, capsized vessels or injured marine life, PWC's are now routinely used for the towing of disabled craft, such as kayaks, sailboards, sail kites, surfboards, and small boats of all varieties up to 30' in length.

The recent changes that began in 2000, with environmental concerns for 2 stroke engines, and pollution control standards have effectively reduced emissions (MTBE methyl-tertiary-butyl-ether is a gasoline additive used in California, Connecticut, New Jersey, Alaska and Maine to improve emissions from gasoline-powered engines. The MTBE issue was a controversy which began in the State of California, due the discovery of 2 stroke boat engines were targeted as the source for high levels of MTBE found in several public reservoirs that provide drinking water to California.

MTBE does not disintegrate easily, this issue has resulted in changes in fuel construction, that are also being addressed and adopted by other States, most recently New York. Beginning June 1, 1999 any personal watercraft that meets EPA 2001 emissions standards will be allowed to operate on Lake Tahoe where the initial controversy began, under a program for a grandfather clause of use for the new manufactured models that comply with the new standards, such as Direct Fuel Injection (DFI), two stroke engines such as Yamaha’s Platinum Plus and Sound Suppression or Polaris/Bombardier FICHT system, and Honda’s, Yamaha, Bombardier, Kawasaki’s four stroke technology that must come under total EPA compliance by the year 2006.

In 2002 the major manufacturers all had 4 stroke technology for their popular 3-person PWC models, and PWC’s with this technology were once again allowed to operate on Lake Tahoe’s waters.The Hood River (Oregon) Fire Department developed a PWC response team for the rescue of windsurfers, boaters, and kayakers in the area popularly know as "The Gorge" located on the Columbia River in 1995

.In 1993 and again in 1997 the City of San Diego Swift Water Rescue team responded to major flooding situations in the Tijuana River Valley and in Sacramento, California. In both cases PWC's and IRB's were utilized. In situations where barbed wire, used for fencing and livestock, other flood debris presented puncture and entanglement problems for IRB's the PWC's became the craft of choice for some trained agencies.

However, due to the calm standing water/weather and debris issue, air boats from Menlo Park Fire Department were the most accessible craft available. PWC's were used to assist in evacuation efforts and to transport feed to stranded livestock, and provide rescue service/transportation for smaller animals such as dogs and cats.

In 2003 the term ‘Personal Watercraft’ or PWC was a recreational description of these unique small vessels.

In 2003, with all the variations and concepts people were throwing around loosely I coined the term ‘RESCUE WATER CRAFT’ or RWC for a standardization applied to occupational use. It was quickly adopted worldwide.i For years there were variations, it was time to solidify the difference between recreational and occuaptional boats.

Katydid Corporation in Indiana, began prototype designs by modifications to a Kawasaki and Yamaha Personal Watercraft to carry a foam spray cannon, mounted on the bow , for quick response to and suppression of small boat gasoline fires/docks, or as a de-watering pump, on calmer waterways.

NOTE: For fire suppression or evacuations, operator(s) must not wear Turnouts or Fire Helmets/Boots if using a PWC in case of capsizing. The Archer Fish became the name of this prototype design, and soon to follow was the Sonic Jet. The Sonic Jet was basically a tri-hull design from a company (Mardikian Designs, designer/creator Albert Mardikian) in Southern California that went bankrupt when the industry went through a shake down process in the early 90’s.

I was able to race a Laser Jet several times, it was a fantastic boat. If it had taken off in sales it would have produced big results. There was a homologation issue with the IJSBA that so many units had to be sold. At that time it was the best stand up I had rode, I was impressed.

It appeared like they took their 2 stand up hull bottom design from Laser Jet Performance and incorporated it with their runabout, into a tri hull for a company I believe that was called Sonic Jet Boats. This tri hull was a vessel with a ‘flying bridge’ for emergency lights/siren and seating, deck space for a litter and a smaller pump system than the design of the Archer Fish. I’m not sure but I think these Sonic Jets ceased production in 2005 and they had a name change to Fire Rescue Jet.There is a fire suppression unit now coming out of Brazil since 2011.

PWC's are being used by the military for man-overboard situations at sea for personnel safety, beach landings, and ordinance disposal missions, night op’s, and safety support boats during their surf passage training programs, helo casting and salvage work by the United States Navy and the United States Marine Corps special warfare divisions.

Personal Watercraft have been used for safety in television and film industry projects, such as the major feature films Titanic, James Bond, Waterworld, Pearl Harbor, and were featured on the most popular television show worldwide ‘BayWatch’.

Occupational uses expanded such as dive rescue, aquatic-sporting events, underwater and near shore construction projects, environmental and marine life studies, and in some oil spill mitigation efforts.

Operator skill and proficiency training has been noted by the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board as an area of concern. In 2008 I attended the International Conference On Safety in Transportation in Italy representing PWC's related uses.

A RWC allows the operator easy access to highly dynamic and inherently hazardous aquatic environments. The PWC system quickly and efficiently moves a rescuer to the scene of person(s) in distress and back to shore.

RWC use requires a high degree of operator reflex and motor skill coordination due to its active ride capabilities. Operators must be in excellent physical conditioning. But it's not limited to that, one must posses a thorough understanding of technical boat operations.. The effects of exposure to hypothermia and wind chill cooling effect determine the type of thermal layering seasonally and regionally. Defining wind chill, this can be caused in high heat conditions or cooler temperatures. The boat is moving at a speed of 38 mph, the wind is blowing at 25 mph with gusts…that will give you your operational wind chill effect while underway, noting that the spray (moisture) will increase the effects of hypothermia or exposure along with the air temperature.

In 1998 PWC's accounted for more than one-third of new recreational boat sales, at more than 200,000, with more than 1 million in current use in the United States. In 2012 there are over 1.5 million registered PWC's recreationally. The number of units has dropped to under 25,000 from just 75,000 units a few years ago.

There is a higher incidence of occupational personal risk to injury for agencies who have inadequate or improper training methods, vetting system or lack of both.

Boating standards have been in place through the National Safe Boating Council for over fifteen years.

Lifeguard agencies as well as fire rescue departments generally do not tap into the boating safety community and lack the inherent values of these standards that have been operationally in place.

State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) have set the boating industry standard for vessels. They have laid down the approval process for each individual state for the training programs for PWC, all they need to do is understand some of the ‘boating language’ and requirements, file a form, with their curriculum and go through the approval process, with certified instructors based off their requirements.

The National Safe Boating Council (NSBC) trains instructors and has set the standard for the NASBLA framework. They are partnered with the National Water Safety Congress.

The Indiana River Rescue School had a PWC segment for over a decade that provides certification teaching the use of a stokes litter towed behind a PWC.

The PWIA began their ‘Wave Ranger’ training program in the early 90s that was headed by Mr. McGann, mainly an introduction to the craft through the various participating manufacturers.

However Mr. McGann created his own certified NASBLA approved courses for students with his private PWC instruction company based out of Florida.

Rescue 3 International has several courses nationwide from various instructors available as well, primarily swiftwater rescue courses.

The California State Fire Marshal also has a PWC course available for firefighters through Roseville FD.

Cal Fire now provides RWC training in the State of California.

California Department of Boating and Waterways has had PWC ‘segments’ in the 5 series “Masters” course for law enforcement and lifeguard agencies over the past decade, that are certified POST, and 3 pilot programs to date, with additional courses. DBAW has not had any scheduled courses for the past two years due to internal politics and a lack of effective program management. (police officer standard of training).

San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department has hosted POST programs.

The NFPA has adopted new water safety standards and the USLA as well opening the door for agencies to develop their own in-house programs or attend training academies, such%2

Brad Southworth, Shawn Alladio 2011 World Finals
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Old 03-23-2012, 11:06 PM
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1994 - K38 Instructor Shawn Alladio
Pullayup, Washington, swiftwater training
Yamaha Waverunner III

Steve Stricklin, Brad Southworth, Shawn Alladio and Velo 2010 Kawasaki, Irvine CA
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Old 03-23-2012, 11:07 PM
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Default Jet Ski Rescue History

What does racing have to do with it? It's the foundation for everything that came next.

That's the fun part about being a pioneer. The path rarely is generated within the water rescue
community but adapted or adopted from the core pursuits who invested in their activities.
So there it is........ The beginning.


I was inducted in with the original 25 members that kicked off the IJBSBA Hall of Fame. I'm kneeling next to Scott "Hollywood' Watkins.

The actual Hall of Fame doesn't exist, not even online, so I created a forum page dedicated to those who have been inducted.



Shawn Alladio was among a very select group in the inaugural induction into the International Jet Sport Boating Association (IJSBA) Hall of Fame. Ms. Alladio's achievements as both a personal watercraft racer as well as one of the pioneers and innovators of personal watercraft rescue activities were recognized in her induction.

Alladio joined twenty four other of the sports pioneers and early legends in the first ever induction to the new Hall of Fame. IJSBA managing director Scott Frazier choose the 25th Anniversary of the IJSBA World Racing Finals as the venue to launch the IJSBA Hall of Fame. The 25 inaugural members are a truly international group, with members from Japan , France , Canada , as well as the United States .

The IJSBA 2006 Hall of Fame fellow inductees are individuals who have gone the distance, matured with the industry and basically paved the way for everyone today who enjoys the use of these unique boats on many levels.

Alladio is among about half a dozen of the inaugural class who remain active on the racing scene. In fact Alladio had just finished twelve hours out on the waters of Lake Havasu as the race course marshal and head of water safety in time to attend the event. Alladio's Santa Barbara area based water event safety and safety training company, K38 Water Safety had the contract for the 2006 IJSBA World Finals races.

Shawn sitting on the throne

'27 years of my life have been engaged with Jet Skis. It began with a desire to race, to compete, to win. I looked slowly around the room at the IJSBA awards, those years rewound. I knew everyone there, we were getting older, but many of us like myself have all lived a dream that many only imagine. We are the fortunate ones, out of billions of people, the Jet Ski has made our dreams, my dreams a true reality. The Hall of Fame is a significant life achievement. I've traveled the world, met incredible people, saved lives and all because of racing and not giving up, and because a Jet Ski changed my direction in life when I was 18 years old, and it just keeps getting better'.

2006 Hall of Fame Inductees
1. Doug Silverstein
2. Larry Rippenkroger
3. Dave Gordon
4. Scott Watkins
5. Rick Roy
6. Mark Sickerling
7. Eric Malone
8. Allesander Lenzi
9. Mike Yellich
10. Jeff Jacobs
11. Victor Sheldon
12. Steve Stricklin
13. Dan Fitzgerald
14. Brian Bendix
15. Tim Judge
16. Karine Pautrel
17. Tera Laho
18. Christy Carlson
19. Chris Fischetti
20. Chris MacClugage
21. Dustin Farthing
22. Nicholas Rius
23. Dustin Motzouris
24. Minoru Kanamori
25. Shawn Alladio

Shawn Alladio-1st woman to compete in the IJSBA Ramp Jump event at world finals

Regional events allowed it and women had done it before, but when I went into a meeting at IJSBA
headquarters I was told only Experts & Pro's could compete in the ramp jump event. So I became an Expert, went back, then was told it was for Pro's only. So when I became a Pro and went back to HQ to ask permission to particiapte, I was told it 'special invitation only'. I had many excuses given to me. The ramp jump was being held at the Nautical Inn in Lake Havasu in those days. Traditionally it was the final event of the race week.

The issue was they at the association didn't want me to do it, and that was obvious. I went to Marine Land and jumped their ramp jump and took photos, came back wtih the proof I could do it. Still no invitation. It was frustrating.

It took me 12 years of petitioning to get do this at this event. I received over a decade of discrimination. One year I was told I coudl compete, then the race director lied, an altercation ensued due to betrayal.

Perserverance and Steve Lawler allowing me to borrow his Yamaha SuperJet with a 10 minute warning made
this possible over a decade later.

I did my first jump and Steve ran up to me excited & seriously admonishing me, 'Shawn you can win this event, you can do it, go back out and take your second jump!'. I turned to him and said, 'nope, I'm done,, I did this for the principal'. Steve tried to convince me and just shook his head in disbelief. I was over it.

I did that jump solely out of the discrimination of it all, in the end it had no value. I had worked the IJSBA World Finals all week long leading the Course Marshal team which is exhausting work, it was the last event of the Finals. I had given enough to that race track, the racers and changing the mystique about who can do what.

Steve also did something for me on a personal level I'm sure he is not aware of it. He simply believed in me that moment with no fore warning. Having his recognition was everything, I liked him as a person and a manager.

He worked at Yamaha Motors Corporation and he had supported many athletes I had walked in through his door, even without his permission, I would tow them into his office. He did a lot of good and I appreciate him. I didn't have a stand up that day. His was already packed away in the truck ready to leave. Out of all the people at world finals, he rushed back and brought that ski to the water for me. Nobody else would have stepped forward for me.

I had never rode it before, got on it, did one turn and did the jump. He took risk loaning me his own personal boat. I will never forget that. Kindness is a gift.

Since then the ramp jump has turned into a joke. There are no measuring devices, the ramps aren't standardized, they set this ramp up direclty into the sun so when you jump you are literally blinded by sun burst and cannot see, making it very dangerous at the Crazy Horse Campground. The ramp jumps I've worked with are poorly maintained and a safety hazard. I was in on the last year when it was good. Maybe somebody else will make it good again?

I am greatful to Steve for setting things right. I was blocked by a race director the year before at the
Nautical Inn who said if I got hurt as the lead in safety it would reflect badly for the industry.

My response was 'nothing I do is safe!'. People project, control and damage by their
weakeness. If you want to forge ahead, you cannot ever, ever give up, and realize that sometimes its not meant to be anyhow, and its okay.

3rd from Left- Ralph Campos is in the foreground on this image snapping my landing, he passed away in 2004 from Cancer. He is not forgotten.

For racing, I was committed to take the log jump obstacles, endurance events, and the leg drag was a first. I got redflagged on the start at a BC Race in Marine Stadium in Long Beach in 1989. I couldn't believe it. I was told to hold my line, but it wasn't me, it was the racer next to me who got hosed by the spray from my boat on edge, she pushed the entire line.

I was back on the line, hand on my helmet and the best thing that happened to me in racing. Something clicked inside. I gained confidence that I didn't have before. I was dead last off the restart, I ended up working through that race and winning it. I needed that persons fear to give me permission to win. I thank her for that gift, it taught me a valuable lesson about humility and honesty, but most importajtly it reinforced to me not give up.

It wasn't about being first per se, it was that it was available. The men were doing it without complaint, I admired their aggressive attacks. My female counterparts had a different take, one with more emotion than focusing on the goals, too many mindset distractions for me. Observing the men in racing was the answer.

When you love something, you make a difference with it.

Those who love the sport are still actively engaged, participating and contributing. As we get older and our generation moves into our golden years, these memories will become stories and some will become legends.

I've been honored to know many of them, or at least to have been part of something great from its origin.

I'm sure my grandparents and their said it, 'it will never be the same'.
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Old 03-23-2012, 11:07 PM
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Default PWC Rescue History



1998, Ensenda, here I was given accolades for the water rescues I did, especially for Carlos Burle'S. I asked the whole staff to come up and join me in the appreciation. Craig Miller, Larry Giles next to me and Alistair Craft on the right and Gary LInden on the left. Larry had set up working this event through Gary Linden. This was the ISA Reef @ Todos Big wave Challenge.

Taylor Knox won the K2 Challenge at this event, I was so happy to get his autograph that night, and many of the positive surfers were buying me waaay too much tequila! I was the first woman to work an evet of this nature and it was not something that was initially well recieved by anyone. From here I decided I would train people from what I learned was done wrong and what worked well.

This was my first taste in the big wave community, where I learned that there wasn't a lot of good vibes from the players, I understood some of this. I also realize that was not nor would ever by my problem. There were many heroics that took place that day. I wore a helmet camera and filmed some of my rescues. This event turned the corner for big waves. Gary Linden had a vision of a big wave world tour. He's been trying hard ever since to get that format running solid. Gary is responsible for more big wave surfer careers than I think folks would admit.

K38 @ Killers Cover Shot ffor JETSPORTS

Vetea David and instructor Shawn Alladio at Teahupo'o, Tahiti at the Tahiti Gotcha Pro event

I met Vetea 'Poto' David at the ISA Big Wave World Team Challenge in 1999 at Isla de Todos Santos. He was one of the Tahitians representing his country for the 2nd ISA event, a brainchild of Gary Linden.

In 1999, I worked a bodyboard contest with Vetea David at Teahupo'o


One of the original Mavericks Water Patrol team pics, taken at Half Moon Bay, Pillar Point Harbor. This was the original team for the Quiksilver Men Who Ride Mountains Contest. Frank Quirarte, Craig Miller and Shawn Alladio. I worked hard at organizing the team, getting the training done on behalf of the event permit and donating craft and equipment to the Mav's Water Patrol.

The discord behind the scenes of ego and personal politics played havoc on the event (which has been the historical legacy ever since) and I was 'fired' days heading into the contest. I was replaced by the Hawaiian Water Patrol upon complaints from within the industry and not backed up by those in charge of this event, basically I was used to get the permit in my estimation.

When the men arrived, they were ill prepared to deal with the cold elements of Mavericks. Putting aside the discord I endured, I drove up to Mavericks and offered my four Yamaha Waverunners, all my equipment to them. I stayed on the dock and serviced any boat needs or such. They didn't have boats to use for their water patrol work at the event. Incidentally Craig didn't get the opportunity to work the event because of this, he lost out and had invested his own time in preparing and training in advance. I felt bad for him.

It's not like there were any jetskis to rent either back then. I wasn't compensated, nor did I request any compensation. I kept my word to the harbor department and donated all my funds back to the loosely formed Mavericks Water Patrol and finalized the Harbor Department training in exchange for the event to recieve their intial permit.

I am better than that, and I stayed true to the commitment of serving those in need. There are folks who block good works, it's true in any industry or walk of life. In that they damage the greater good and sabotage truth and honor. We are all not separated by that many degrees, in fact we find at the end of the day, we are all the same, but we do not all behave the same in any given moment. Mankind says keep your enemy closer. But I follow a God that says 'Love they Enemy as They Self.' I get it, because I realize that humility is what allows a person to truly serve. And to serve those in need, means sacrifice. I honor my God as I suffer as a human being in all my shortcomings, I try to make things right, for I've done so many wrongs of my own.

I took care of this replacement teams needs. I provided them with snacks and additional thermal layering. The Mavericks mystique has always been cloaked in a viel of mistrust and behind the scenes positioning. Many people used folks to leverage a career, a connection or a photo opportunity. It's fu
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