Similar to ATVs, jet skis and other personal watercraft present to their riders risks of accidents and injuries. Just like their land counter parts, personal watercrafts can collide and overturn with the same devastating results. Jet skis and wave runners can reach speeds in excess of 70 mph and handling them safely requires significant skills.
Recently Tampa Bay Online reported on a horrific personal watercraft accident that changed a young girls life forever. Two girls ages 14 and 15 were riding personal watercraft on Lake Gibson when the two collided. Tragically the impact severed the 14-year-old’s leg below the knee. Police divers looked for several hours trying to recover the unattached left leg.
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officers reported that both girls were wearing life jackets but neither had taken a boating safety course.
During 2006 through 2009 Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission reported that 42 children ages 16 and under were the victims of a personal watercraft crash. Florida had 149 injuries and 7 fatalities from 168 personal watercraft accidents in 2008. In 2009 there was 1 fatality and 152 injuries from 143 accidents.
We recently posted to our South Florida Injury Lawyers Blog about the proposed changes to laws pertaining to personal watercraft.
Personal watercraft safety tips:
-Know the features and controls of your personal watercraft.
-Wear an approved life jacket that will keep your head above the water.
-To summon help attach a whistle to your life jacket.
-Always attach the safety lanyard to you that will cut the engine if you fall off.
-Never ride at night.
-Be watchful of other vessels in the water, keep your distance, and stay at least 100 feet apart.
-Never ride after you’ve been drinking.
-Be familiar with the water you are riding in so you can avoid sandbars and rocks.
Also remember that just because you sign a waiver from a rental agency doesn’t mean they are off the hook regarding their safety obligations. That is why contacting an experienced attorney is extremely important if you are injured on rented equipment.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a watercraft or boating accident in Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach or the surrounding areas, contact the personal injury lawyers at Freeman, Mallard, Sharp & Gonzalez LLC. Call for a free and confidential appointment to discuss your rights at 1-800-529-2368.