Waverunners and Jetskis Can Cause Personal Watercraft Accidents
PWC's Operate Like a MotorcycleA PWC operates much like a motorcycle. They're small, maneuverable, fast, and seemingly simple to use. You just climb aboard, start it, and twist the throttle. The next thing you know you're flying across the water throwing spray every time you shift your body. We have all seen them off the coast of Florida, spinning endless 360 degree turns at high rates of speed. Even though they operate on the water, PWC's are ever bit as dangerous as a motorcycle when operated improperly, and probably more dangerous than a normal boat. The danger that comes with a PWC is caused by two things: operator inexperience and a small, extremely fast vessel that can turn on a dime, and accelerate like a motorcycle to speeds exceeding 65 miles per hour. Many cities have attempted to ban or severely restrict the use the PWC's, not only because of the noise they cause, but because of the danger they create to those around them
PWC's Cause Far Greater Injury Than Other Boating AccidentsA recent University of Florida study showed that PWC accidents cause far greater injuries than other boating mishaps. The study found that riders involved in personal watercraft accidents in Florida sustain more closed-head injuries, more trauma to the chest and abdomen, and more broken bones than compared to riders in a boat. Because there are no seatbelts or anything else to hold down the rider, riders are usually ejected from the vehicle during a collision, going airborne into the next stationary object, whether it is the water, a steel channel marker, or another boat.
The Two Most Common Causes of PWC Accidents Are:Operator inexperience, and high rates of speed. Attorney Joseph Maus says, "You have to understand that just about anybody can buy or rent a boat, jetski or waverunner capable of doing 50-60 miles per hour with literally no training on how to operate it, no knowledge of navigational markers, or how to handle the tides and seas. When you add in the fact that these waverunners and jetskis are being operated near crowded beach areas, you've got a recipe for disaster."
Follow These Safety Tips:1. Read the owner's manual to understand the controls and features of your PWC.
2. Wear proper safety equipment: an approved PFD life jacket Type I or Type II will keep your head afloat in the event of an accident.
3. Attach a whistle to your life jacket to summon help and to alert other boat traffic.
4. Never operate your personal water craft without the safety lanyard attached to you. The lanyard cuts the engine if you fall, and could save a long swim home.
5. Never operate a PWC at night - it is against the law.
6. Keep a lookout for other boats and water craft, especially sail boats. Stay at least 100 feet away.
7. Do not operate your water craft after you've been drinking: drinking while boating has caused many boating and personal watercraft accidents.
8. Know the waters you're operating in so you can avoid weeds, rocks, and sandbars.
9. Florida law requires anyone under age 16 to have a boating safety certificate or be operating the PWC with someone over age of 18.