Boat & Watercraft Accidents: What You Need to Know
According to the US Coast Guard, Personal Watercrafts (PWCs) are involved in 30% of all reported boating accidents. And 36% of all boating injuries take place on PWCs. PWC collisions result in more injuries and deaths than any other type of PWC accident. And, unlike all other types of boats, PWC operators are more likely to die from blunt-force trauma than from drowning.
Most states have minimum ages for PWC operators, ranging from 12 to 18. In some states, younger riders are permitted to operate PWCs if they are accompanied by an adult. In other states, the legal age of operation depends upon whether the rider has taken a state-approved boater safety course. PWCs are subject to the same rules of the road as any other vessel, and meeting, crossing, and overtaking rules must be obeyed. Nearly all states require personal flotation devices to be worn by the operator and all riders. In addition, many states require PWC rental operators to provide instruction or education before someone can operate PWC.
According to a National Transportation Safety Board report roughly 84% of PWC accidents involved operators who had no boating safety education or instruction. In fact, 73% had been riding less than an hour when their accident occurred. 48% of those injured had never operated a personal watercraft or had done so only once.
About 11% of all vessels registered in the United States are personal watercrafts. However, with more people out on the water riding jet skis you cannot ignore the risk of jet ski accidents.
Reports submitted to the U.S. Coast Guard show that 30% of all boating accidents involved jet skis, as well as 36% of all reported boating injuries.
Jet ski riders and passengers have little to protect them should there be a jet ski accident. Add the fact that jet skis are extremely agile, so any crash could result in major injuries. The risks of being injured can be reduced if riders wore helmets and life jackets.
There seems to be a consistent pattern to jet ski accidents, one that involves an inexperienced rider who was found to be at fault. Let’s take a look at the most prevalent types of accidents:
Two vessels are often involved in a jet ski accident. What typically happens is that a jet ski will either bump into a boat or another jet ski.
Jet skis are also known for bumping into buoys, buildings, docks and the shoreline.
PWCs sometimes hit people swimming near the shoreline, causing serious injuries.
Riders and passengers also get injured jumping waves.
Accidents occur when riders and/or passengers fall off their seats.
Jet ski riders are far more exposed than people on other types of boats, and unfortunately, they are more likely to be going much faster. So, jet ski injuries tend to be quite severe.
Certain types of injuries are more prevalent among jet ski accident victims. These include traumatic brain injuries, as well as injuries to the neck and spinal cord. If a jet ski collides with another vessel, something submerged in the water or suddenly goes aground, those riding can easily be thrown off the jet ski. When you crash into something at high speeds, you can end up with broken bones and/or brain damage. If your body hits the surface of the water hard enough, you can get a concussion and/or serious whiplash. Passengers who get thrown off a jet ski often get pinned by other vessels, causing severe limb injuries. After a jet ski wreck there are a lot of exposed electronics and engine parts, which can burn or electrocute the people involved.
The Oakes Firm is dedicated to helping injured people and grieving families obtain answers, justice, and full compensation. If you or a loved one have been involved in a boat or watercraft accident, don’t hesitate to contact us now. We are available 24/7 for a free case consultation to evaluate your potential claims. Learn how an award-winning Philadelphia personal injury lawyer at The Oakes Firm can get you the help you need and the money you deserve.