Jet skis are common in Florida. In fact, personal watercraft (PWC) accounted for 13 percent of all registered vessels in Florida in 2011.
Unfortunately, jet ski accidents are common in Florida as well. PWCs were involved in 22 percent (162) of reported boating accidents in 2011. Common causes of jet ski accidents include speeding, failure to obey safety laws, inexperience, negligent operation, and alcohol/drug impairment. Jet ski accidents can lead to serious injuries.
The watercraft can reach speeds of up to 70 mph and, much like a motorcycle, there is very little protection should the jet ski collide with another watercraft or stationary object. Seven people were killed in 2011 alone.
To stay safe this summer, we urge jet ski riders to keep the following tips in mind:
- Keep the ignition safety switch lanyard on your wrist or hooked to your life jacket. This cuts power to the engine if you fall off.
- Be sure you meet your state’s minimum operating age and education requirements.
- Follow basic boating rules and practice proper boating etiquette.
- Before leaving, check the PWC to be sure it’s in working order and that you have the necessary equipment on board.
- Avoid dangerous maneuvers like using another watercraft’s wake as a ramp.
- When pulling a person, your PWC should be able to seat you, a spotter and the person being towed.
- Keep your feet inside the PWC, and maintain a firm grip on the handlebars or the strap on a 3-seat jet ski.
- Ride defensively. Scan for boats and objects in your path, and drive at responsible speeds.
Remember, most PWCs don’t have a braking system, and you’ll lose steering capability when the power is off. The Dellutri Law Group is focused on making bad situations better and putting lives back together. If you or someone you love has been seriously injured in a Fort Myers accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. To learn more about your legal options, contact our experienced Fort Myers injury attorneys for a free consultation.