Water rockets are fun and educational, but if not taken seriously could pose a
safety risk. Having fun and learning cool science is the goal, so let's put
safety first and make sure we don't hurt ourselves or others.
Towards this end, water-rockets.com endorses the Water Rocket Safety Code as
developed by Bruce Berggren. This Code is well thought-out and should keep you
safe, however you are still responsible for you own safety.
Think SAFETY, take precautions, and be safe!
Water Rocket Safety Code
1. Definitions. For the purposes of this safety
code, a ‘Water Rocket’ is defined as any rocket
whose thrust is generated by expansion of a compressed, non-combustible
gas. An inert fluid such as water may be used for thrust
2. Scope. This code applies to water rockets having
a pressure chamber volume greater than 1200ml or a launch pressure
exceeding 35 psi.
3. Materials. The pressure chamber of the rocket
shall be constructed of thin, ductile plastic. Only
lightweight, non-metal parts shall be used for the nose, body, and fins.
4. Compressed Gas Safety. A safe distance shall be
maintained at all times between persons and pressurized water rockets
or launchers. The recommended safe distance is as follows:
||With Eye Protection
||Without Eye Protection
|Up to 60 psi
|Above 60 psi
5. Pressurization System. Compressed air tanks and
gas cylinders shall be stored and transported in accordance with all
applicable safety codes. Line fittings near the operator
shall be rated by the manufactuer for use with compressed gas at the
6. Launcher. The launcher shall hold the rocket to
within 30 degrees of vertical to ensure that it flies nearly straight
up. It shall provide a stable support against wind and any
triggering forces, and allow the rocket to be pressurized and
depressurized from a safe distance. Launchers shall be
constructed from materials rated for at least 3 times the intended
7. Launch Safety. I will use a countdown prior to
launch to ensure that spectators are paying attention and are a safe
distance away. If my rocket does not launch when triggered, I
will not allow anyone to approach it until it has been depressurized.
8. Size. A water rocket whose mass (excluding
water) exceeds 453 grams (1 lb) shall be considered a “Large
Model Rocket” for the purpose of compliance with Federal
Aviation Administration regulations.
9. Flight Safety. Water rockets shall not be
directed at targets, into clouds, or near airplanes.
Flammable or explosive payloads shall not be carried.
10. Launch Site. Water rockets shall be launched
outdoors, in an open area at least 100 feet on a side (for rockets with
using a launch pressure of 60 psi or less), or 500 feet on a side (for
rockets using higher pressure).
11. Recovery System. A recovery system such as a
streamer, parachute, or tumble recovery shall be used, with the intent
to return it safely to earth without damage.
12. Recovery Safety. Recovery shall not be
attempted from power lines, tall trees, or other dangerous places.
| updated 12-APR-2009
for more information see:
Burst Testing With Berggren & Youens