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Jet Ski Accidents Just as Serious as Auto Accidents

Living in Florida has its advantages. Year-round moderate weather, sunshine that never stops, and endless water sports are just a few perks of being a Floridian. But when it comes to boating, Florida routinely proves to be the most dangerous place to be on the water. With more than 4,000 watercraft accidents nationwide in 2014 alone, boating accidents caused 2,678 personal injuries, including 610 fatalities, according to the American Boating Association. Thus, there can be no doubt that watercraft accidents are a serious matter. Many are caused by intoxicated boating or inattentive and distracted boaters – much like automotive accidents. But why are jet skis such a hazard in particular?

Jet Ski Facts

Jet skis are not automobiles, motorcycles or boats. They are personal watercrafts. However, they are completely unique in how they operate. Here are a few unique highlights about personal watercraft safety.

  • Jet skis have no propeller; they operate by water propulsion.
  • Jet skis have no brakes.
  • Jet skis can weigh as much as 1,000 pounds without riders.
  • Jet skis are designed for as few as one rider or as many as six.
  • Jet skis are fast. The fastest can go upwards of 80 MPH.
  • Some jet skis now have up to 310 horsepower
  • Jet skis can measure up to 21 feet in length.

How do jet skis differ from motorcycles?

There are a lot of ways people get hurt operating jet skis, but given the facts listed above, it should come as no surprise that operator control is a big factor in most accidents. Here are some huge differences between motorcycles and jet skis:

Speed and Power

Most motorcycles on the highway operate with 700 to 1,800 cc engines and maintain rubber to road traction at all times. Jet skis travel much faster than most consumer power boats, which generally top out around 40 MPH.

Brakes and Friction

They are equipped with brakes that can quickly slow the rate of travel, and, due to the constant friction and traction between the tires and the road, a motorcycle and well-trained rider can quickly avert danger and make split second decisions. A jet ski can only be turned. Much like a skateboard or rollerblades, there is no stopping, only slowing and turning. A highly trained, professional rider can quickly turn the jet ski while leaning against the turn in order to stop the craft. Yet, the vast majority of riders do not have this skill level.

Training and Experience

There are a lot of safety courses for motorcycle enthusiasts, such as through the Motorcycle Safety Foundation. This makes sense, because many Americans own motorcycles and ride them almost daily. This daily experience makes for safer, more competent riders. However, a simple Google search will display hundreds of jet ski rental companies in the Tampa Bay area alone. Thus, jet ski rentals are a huge market, especially in Florida. This means on any given day, there may be hundreds of personal watercrafts being operated by inexperienced riders on the Florida waterways. Many of these riders may be riding for their first time, or they are tourists who ride once or twice a year at best. Therefore, experience is limited.

What are common injuries?

The most common injuries are collisions with other crafts, swimmers, or piers and docks. When riders cannot stop and are traveling at high rates of speed, it is a recipe for disaster. Likewise, boating and drinking sadly go together during major holidays, like spring break, New Years, Fourth of July, and Memorial Day weekend. Inattentive riders make poor decisions, which often result in hitting swimmers or running into other crafts on the waterways.

If you or someone you know has been injured by a careless or reckless jet skier or due to a faulty watercraft, contact the Romero Law Firm to speak with an aggressive and experienced Bradenton boating accident attorney. We are happy to offer you a free consultation today.

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