To beat the heat, many people hit the waterways for some refreshing, adventuresome jet ski fun. Pairing fun with safety should be a top priority.
Jet skis are capable of speeds of 60+ mph, and riders are vulnerable (no protective frame, seatbelts, etc.). Collisions with other watercraft, docks, piers, sand bars, swimmers, and submerged objects can cause serious injuries. So can ejections and flip-overs. With water involved, hypothermia, near-drowning, and drowning can enter the picture. Be sure to wear a life jacket!
Jet Ski Accident Stats:
According to United States Coast Guard statistics, from 2009 through 2018, jet ski accidents accounted for over 400 fatalities and nearly 7,000 injuries. The most common causes include:
- Recklessness. Excessive speed, inattentiveness, ill-advised stunts, disregard for navigational laws and regulations, or operating jet skis under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a recipe for disaster.
- Rider inexperience. State to state, the minimum age for unsupervised jet ski operation ranges from 12 to 18. There is a learning curve to operating jet skis, too. For instance, models prior to 2009 do not have brakes (“reversing”), and while coasting or reversing, a rider loses their ability to steer.
- Weather conditions. Wind, rain, rough surf, limited visibility, etc. make jet ski operation more difficult.
In addition to jet ski operator liability, manufacturers may be liable for injuries caused by a product defect or design flaw (e.g., engine fires, faulty controls). Rental companies can be on the hook for not properly inspecting and maintaining their jet skis, failing to provide operating instructions, or allowing someone unqualified or impaired behind the controls.
If your water outing results in injury due to another party’s negligence, contact our jet ski accident attorney to protect your rights.