We’ve been discussing the risks of alcohol-related car accidents and other similar accidents on our South Florida Car Accident Attorney Blog. We’ve been talking about these dangers because even though Spring Break is now on the downside in South Florida, this is the time of year that continues to bring an overwhelming number of residents and tourists to our coastlines.
What we’re going to discuss now are the risks for jet ski accidents in Fort Lauderdale and elsewhere, especially during Spring Break and into early April. In Florida, there were 125 personal watercraft accidents reported in 2010. Of these reports, 81 were accidents involving privately owned personal watercraft while the others were rental personal watercraft vessels, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). These statistics are alarming, especially knowing that Florida was ranked as the most dangerous state in the country for these kinds of accidents in 2009. During that year, nearly 70 people were killed in boating accidents in the state of Florida. This is about 20 more fatalities than the second most dangerous state in the country — California.
Our Fort Lauderdale injury lawyers would like to remind both residents and Spring Breakers that the rental of personal watercraft is done under strict Florida laws. These laws are in place to help keep the rider safe, the beach-goers safe and other boaters safe. Rental companies are required by law to follow the laws. If you feel that a personal watercraft rental company has cheated these laws and has contributed to an accident, contact an experienced attorney to help you to review your rights.
Florida State Laws, Personal Watercraft Rental:
-All riders must wear an approved, non-inflatable personal flotation device (PFD).
-The driver of the vessel is required to wear the engine cutoff switch lanyard at all times.
-There are nighttime restrictions to personal watercraft. They are not permitted to be driven from 30 minutes after sunset to 30 minutes before sunrise.
-Personal watercraft operators can be cited for reckless driving. When driving near other watercraft, you’re required to avoid swerving at the last moment or swerving in a way that creates an unnecessary wake to another vessel.
-You have to be at least 14-years-old to drive a personal watercraft.
-You have to be at least 18-years-old to rent a personal watercraft.
-It is considered a second-degree misdemeanor if someone allows an underage driver to operate a personal watercraft.
Rental facilities are also required to ensure that all operators are properly identified before allowing them to hop in the driver’s seat. Renters are also required to make sure that each vessel is equipped with the proper safety equipment. They’re prohibited from renting any vessel that is not seaworthy, exceeds the recommended engine horsepower or exceeds load capacity.
Remember, there were five personal watercraft accidents in Palm Beach County in 2010, one in which resulted in a death and three caused injuries.
If you or a friend of yours has been injured or killed in a personal watercraft or boating accident in Palm Beach or Fort Lauderdale, contact the injury attorneys at Freeman, Mallard, Sharp & Gonzalez, LLC for experienced advice about your case. Call 1-800-561-7777 for a free and confidential appointment today.
More Blog Entries:
Boating Accidents in South Bay and Elsewhere a Top Concern for Boating Advocates, South Florida Injury Lawyers Blog, February 28, 2012
Operating a Boat Under the Influence Causes a High Risk of Injury or Death in Palm Beach Boating Accidents, South Florida Injury Lawyers Blog, August 17, 2011