Summer Safety: Dangerous Instrumentality

Summer, summer, summertime!

With Memorial Day quickly approaching, it’s time to think about our favorite summery things: ice cold lemonade on a sweltering day, the feeling of dipping your toes in the water, racing across the waves in a jet ski or other personal watercraft, soaking in the sun, dangerous instrumentalities . . .

Wait, what was that last one?

What is a Dangerous Instrumentality?

A dangerous instrumentality is any article that is inherently hazardous or has the potential for harming people through its careless use.  Fireworks, for example, are considered a dangerous instrumentality. If recklessly or improperly used, they have the potential to cause burns, trauma, or other serious injuries. Many other items are considered inherently hazardous, ranging from guns to electrically charged wires. Even cars, which we use every day, are also dangerous.

This relates to your summertime activities because your favorite watercraft is probably a dangerous instrumentality. According to Florida Statutes, all water vessels, including jet skis and wave runners, are considered dangerous instrumentalities in this state, and any operator of a vessel shall, during any utilization of the vessel, exercise the highest degree of care in order to prevent injuries to others.

Be Cautious

This does not mean that personal watercrafts are illegal. After all, cars are dangerous instrumentalities. It’s not like they’re getting banned from the roads! However, it does mean, as Florida Statutes state, that you need to take extra care. In the event of an accident involving a dangerous instrumentality, liability will usually fall entirely upon the operator of the vessel. If you know your watercraft is dangerous, the law expects you to be cautious. If you’re reckless or negligent, you will suffer the consequences.

To avoid an incident with a dangerous watercraft this summer, here are some things to keep in mind:

  • It is illegal for anyone under the age of 14 to operate a watercraft
  • You must wear a flotation device, like a lifejacket
  • You must attach the engine cut-off rope to your clothing; if you fall off the watercraft, this will stop it from moving on without you and causing further damage or injury
  • Do not operate a watercraft after or before sunrise

Failure to obey any of these watercraft laws could result in a second-degree misdemeanor. You do not want to start off summer with a stay in jail!


The attorneys at Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes represent those involved in car accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, and other types of personal injury matters. Our firm is one of the oldest personal injury law firms in Tampa Bay. There are no attorneys’ fees or costs unless we prevail for you. Call our office 24 hours a day at 727-796-8282 or simply click here to schedule a free case consultation.

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