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Personal Watercraft Accidents in Georgia

July 31, 2017

As the summer temperatures grow and people seek to cool off with water activities, people will likely spend the hot days riding their Jet Skis®, SeaDoos®, WaveRunners® and other personal watercrafts (PWCs). Personal watercrafts provide an exciting form of recreation, but they can be very dangerous when they are in the hands of someone who is inexperienced or intoxicated. A study by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) found that seventy percent of PWC accidents were attributable to one of three causes – (1) inattention, (2) inexperience or (3) inappropriate speed.

There are in excess of one million personal watercrafts, and they are required to follow the same rules and requirements of other watercrafts as well as special rules that apply only to PWCs. The laws that impact PWCs are complex and include both state and federal maritime laws.

Personal Water Craft Accidents

Personal watercrafts and are used by a lot of people for recreation. They are relatively inexpensive, and there is no legally required special license or training requirements to operate one, which makes them accessible to a diverse cross-section of people. Because PWCs are extremely fast, they can be extremely dangerous in the wrong hands. PWCs make up only about 7 percent of all boating vessels in the U.S., but are involved in almost 56 percent of boat collisions and close to 33 percent of accidents on waterways overall.

A study conducted by the U.S. Coast Guard found that a person riding a PWC is over seven times more likely to get hurt in a watercraft accident than someone driving a motorboat and also more than 31 times more likely than someone in a canoe or kayak. Watercraft accidents involving personal watercrafts can produce severe injuries that include:

  • drowning
  • burns
  • amputations
  • head injuries
  • disfigurement
  • hypothermia
  • broken bones

Personal Watercraft Safety

There are few basic safety guidelines that the U.S. Coast Guard recommends to reduce the risk of serious injury when using a PWC:

  • Riders should always wear a properly fitted lifejacket approved by the U.S. Coast Guard.
  • PWC users should use the emergency engine-stop accessory provided for the watercraft. Typically, this is a lanyard that goes around the wrist so that when the operator falls in the water the engine automatically shuts off.
  • Those riding PWCs need to keep a constant lookout for other boats, skiers, divers, and swimmers and keep a safe distance from other boats and the shoreline.
  • Riders should not use waves and the wakes made by boats as ramps for jumping.
  • No watercraft should be operated by someone under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • Parents should adhere to state law regarding the minimum age for riding or operating a PWC.

If you or a loved one have been seriously injured in a personal watercraft accident, then you might have a right to seek financial compensation for your injuries. Our law firm handles all types of personal watercraft accidents throughout all of the waterways and lakes of Georgia, such as Lake Lanier, Lake Oconee, Lake Sinclair and Lake Tobesofkee. Our Georgia boating accident attorneys handle accidents involving all types of personal watercrafts.

Put Our Law Firm's Over 38 Years of Legal Experience to Work For You

Our boating accident and personal injury lawyers at Montlick and Associates have been representing those who suffer serious injuries or wrongful death for over 38 years throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state.

No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.


Montlick & Associates, Attorneys at Law
17 Executive Park Dr NE
Atlanta, GA 30329
Telephone: 1 (800) LAW-NEED
Telephone: 1 (404) 529-6333

Open: 24 hours, 7 Days a Week

Category: Personal Injury

Please Note:
Many of our blog articles discuss the law. All information provided about the law is very general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Every situation is different, and should be analyzed by a lawyer who can provide individualized advice based on the facts involved in your unique situation, and a consideration of all of the nuances of the statutes and case law that apply at the time.