Skip to primary navigation Skip to content Skip to footer
Back to Blog

Help Prevent Unintentional 911 Calls While Jet Skiing or Boating

jet ski parked with a sign on it

PLEASE READ: Prevent Unintentional 911 calls while jet skiing or boating!

jet ski parked with a sign on it
What Has Been Happening:

In this blog post, we will discuss the safety of keeping your phone in a padded case, padded storage area, or secured safely under your life jacket while jet skiing, especially in light of the unintentional 911 calls that can occur due to the emergency SOS features on Apple and Android phones.

Last season alone the Maryland Department of Natural Resources Police received 60 unintentional 911 calls from boaters/jetskiers. Out of those 60 calls, roughly 5 were actual emergencies.

Unintentional 911 calls can occur due to the emergency SOS features on Apple and Android phones. This feature is designed to help people in emergencies by allowing them to quickly call for help, even if they are unable to physically use their phone. However, this feature can sometimes be triggered accidentally, such as when your phone gets wet or jostled around in a pocket. If this happens, it can result in an unnecessary and potentially costly 911 call.

When these calls occur, officers must respond to them since it is unknown whether the call is an actual emergency or one that’s unintentional. Responding to this call can take time away from a potential real emergency that may be occurring at the same time.

Ways To Prevent Unintentional Calls:

The Department of Natural Resources police has provided the signs pictured below to all local jet ski and boat rentals in Ocean City, MD which will be posted at the watersport rental locations to help remind customers about these unintentional 911 calls before going on the water. Below are three easy ways to help prevent these calls. a close up of a sign to prevent unintentional 911calls

1. Leave Your Phone in the Car: Watersport rental companies may begin asking customers to leave phones safely in their vehicle or at the rental office. Your phone will be safe from the water and safe from making any calls. You can take photos before and after your rental while still at the dock or location.

2. Waterproof Phone Bag: Other companies, including Odyssea Watersports, will be offering floating waterproof bags as an option for customers as shown in the photo below. Placing your phone in one of these bags will prevent your phone from getting wet but more importantly help prevent the phone from bouncing around or having random buttons from getting pushed. This will in turn help stop any unwanted calls.

waterproof phone bag on a jet ski

3. Turn off the emergency SOS feature:

How to Turn Off Your Phones Emergency SOS:

  • iPhone: Go to Settings > Emergency SOS > and toggling off the “Auto Call” option.
  • Android: Go to Settings > Advanced features > Send SOS messages, and toggling off the “Auto call” option.

Please remember to turn this feature back on once you are finished jetskiing. This is a great safety feature and can help save a life during a real emergency.

This blog is just to simply make you aware of what has been happening and the Department of Natural Resources Police has asked the local boating community to help get the word out before the boating season begins. They understand why it’s happening and feel the phone’s Emergency SOS System is a great feature but if the unintentional calls can become fewer and fewer they will be able to focus more of their time and effort on real emergencies.

To help spread the word, share this with your friends by sending them the link to this blog or posting it on Facebook or Twitter.

For questions or concerns please feel free to reach out to us at 410-723-4227. Have a safe and fun time on the water!