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Summer Means Personal Watercraft Accident Risks

May 17, 2011

Summer is right around the corner, which means that people will be pulling out their Jet Skis, Seadoos, Wave Runners and other personal watercrafts (PWCs).

Personal watercrafts are a lot of fun, but they can be very dangerous when they are in the hands of someone who is inexperienced or intoxicated. Approximately 5,000 watercraft accidents occur on our waterways each year, resulting in 2,600 injuries and over 72 deaths.

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

Personal Watercraft Accidents

Jet Skis are a very popular form of personal watercrafts and are used by a lot of people for recreation. They are relatively inexpensive, and you do not need any special license or training to operate one, which makes them accessible to a diverse cross-section of people. Because these are so fast and maneuver quickly, they can be extremely dangerous in the wrong hands. Jet Skis 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.

Causes of personal watercraft accidents include:

  • excessive speed
  • alcohol
  • driver inattention
  • operator inexperience

In a study conducted by the U.S. Coast Guard, it was found that a person riding a jet ski is 7.2 times more likely to get hurt in a watercraft accident than someone driving a motorboat, and 31.6 times more likely than someone in a canoe or kayak. Watercraft accidents involving jet skis often produce severe injuries including:

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

Personal Watercraft Safety

Here are a few basic guidelines that a rider can use to ensure one’s safety and the safety of others.

  • Always wear a fitted, Coast Guard-approved lifejacket.
  • Make use of whatever engine-stop accessory is provided on the Jet Ski. This could be a lanyard that goes around the wrist so when you fall it is pulled, and the Jet Ski engine automatically shuts off.
  • Constantly be on the lookout for other boats, skiers, divers, and swimmers. Keep a good distance from other boats and the shoreline.
  • Do not use waves and the wakes made by boats as ramps for jumping.
  • Never operate a Jet Ski if you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • Follow the age requirements for your state for riding as some states have a minimum age of 11 years old while in others it is 16.

If you or a loved one have been seriously injured in a personal watercraft accident, then you may be able to seek compensation for your injuries. An experienced attorney can guide you through the complex legal issues involved in a claim or lawsuit for a personal watercraft accident.

Our law firm handles all types of personal watercraft accidents throughout all of the waterways and lakes of Georgia including Lake Lanier, Lake Oconee, Lake Sinclair and Lake Tobesofkee. Our Georgia Jet Ski, Wave Runner and SeaDoo accident claim attorneys handle accidents involving all types of personal watercrafts. If you have been seriously injured in a Georgia personal watercraft accident, contact Montlick & Associates for a free consultation to discuss your rights to compensation. We work hard for our clients and are committed to our goal of being known as the best Atlanta personal injury lawyers in Georgia.

Our Atlanta, Georgia personal watercraft accident lawyers are available to assist clients 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.

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.