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Boat Accident and Personal Watercraft Safety Reminders for Summer 2024

Boat Accident and Personal Watercraft Safety Reminders for Summer 2024

Boat Accident and Personal Watercraft Safety Reminders for Summer 2024 940 788 Panter, Panter & Sampedro

On the afternoon of Saturday, May 11th, authorities received a call that a young girl was struck by a boat while wakeboarding behind another vessel. The girl was wearing a life jacket when she was hit and fatally injured. Eyewitnesses reported that the boat did not stop before or after the incident. The identified driver stated that he did not see or hear the girl and did not know that he was involved in an accident.

As the summer season begins, this tragedy is a stark reminder that no matter the precautions, individuals can never be too careful on boats or personal watercrafts (PWCs) to engage in water-based recreational activities common to Florida.

Are Personal Watercraft (PWC) Accidents Common?

PWCs, like jet skis, are popular in Florida. The state has the highest number of PWCs in the United States. Jet skis, the most popular among PWCs, are involved in about 20% of boating accidents.

The widespread use and availability of PWCs, particularly jet skis, contribute to a significant number of accidents. Florida consistently reports the highest number of PWC accidents in the country. Starting from 2017, these accidents steadily rose, peaking at 227 in 2020. The most recent data from the 2023 Florida Boating Accident Statistical Report shows a decline to 153 accidents which is promising but highlights the ongoing need for greater focus on jet ski safety.

Leading Causes of Jet Ski Accidents

There are many different causes of jet ski accidents. The following are some common examples:

  • Inebriation
  • Inexperience
  • Children piloting the jet ski
  • Speeding
  • Inclement weather
  • Distracted boaters
  • Equipment defects
  • Reckless operation
  • Failure to watch for others
  • Improper maintenance
  • Fire or explosion

These are not the only causes of jet ski accidents, however they are common causes to look out for while operating a jet ski.

Jet Ski Safety

While this list is not exhaustive these recommendations provide a good starting point for a better and safer experience reducing the risk of a jet ski accident:

  • Use More Than the Required Equipment: Do not settle for only having the mandatory safety gear, like life jackets, consider additional protective equipment like helmets and wetsuits. Individuals might also consider having a whistle or a horn to draw boaters’ attention in the water. 
  • Safety Training: Untrained riders account for a substantial percentage of jet ski accidents. Take a safety course to learn how to operate a jet ski properly and understand the rules of the water.
  • Regular Maintenance: Ensure that jet skis are in good working condition by performing regular maintenance checks.
  • Avoid High-Risk Behaviors: Do not drink alcohol, speed, or attempt risky maneuvers while operating a jet ski. 
  • Stay Calm After A Fall from a Jet Ski: Falling off of a jet ski can be a frightening experience. When possible, individuals should try to reboard the jet ski from the rear and use the reboarding steps or ladder if available. Those thrown from a jet ski should stay calm and signal for help. Use a life jacket to stay afloat and save energy.

Legal Aspects of Boat Accident and Jet Ski Personal Injury

Boating and jet ski accidents can lead to serious injuries, such as broken bones, brain injuries, and whiplash. If you are involved in an accident, it is important to take the following steps:

  • Document the Incident: Gather evidence, including photographs and witness statements.
  • Seek Medical Attention: Get immediate medical treatment for any injuries and keep detailed records of any medical expenses.
  • Consult a Lawyer: Seeking legal representation can help injured persons navigate the complexities of personal injury law and secure just compensation. Visit our practice page on jet ski accidents for more information. 

Committing to Jet Ski Safety in Your Community

Recreational water-based activities are among the most appealing aspects of Florida life for both tourists and residents. However, it is crucial to engage in these activities safely, responsibly, and with trusted individuals.

At Panter, Panter & Sampedro, we are dedicated to keeping our community safe by providing informative resources like this one, and we hope individuals will use this information to enhance their safety on the water. As a leading personal injury law firm, we are committed to protecting Florida’s families. If you have been involved in a Miami jet ski accident, please contact us at (305) 662-6178 for a free consultation.

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