SAN DIEGO — Lifeguards are cracking down on illegal jet ski rentals following the death of a 12-year-old girl who was killed while paddle boarding in Mission Bay.

The girl was hit by a jet skier near De Anza Cove three weeks ago. city officials are now targeting unlicensed jet ski rentals as a part of an ongoing enforcement effort to create a safer Mission Bay.  

“We have to achieve it through enforcement, but also education is the best way,” said James Gartland, Chief of the San Diego Lifeguards.

He says one of the big issues with wave runners is their counterintuitive control system that can confuse new riders.  

“If you are not under throttle, there’s no steer and there’s no brakes,” explained Chief Gartland. “So it can be challenging for any new person using one of those skis.”

Lifeguards say there are currently several companies who are renting out watercraft legally, and they go through all the training prior to renting out their skis.

Officials say if you are renting anything through an APP it’s illegal. Only places with a storefront can operate out of Mission Bay. Lifeguards are urging anyone who wants to try out a jet ski on Mission Bay to use a professional outfit.

There have been dozens of jet skis and personal watercraft impounded over the summer because of lack of documentation and insurance.

“There are leaseholders all over Mission Bay that know the rules, that have all the carriage requirements. They make sure they have all the proper insurance, and they provide the proper training to people who are renting vessels out on Mission Bay,”  said Chief Gartland.